The accrediting agency that sanctioned Wright Career College, which suddenly shut down earlier this year, announced this week it needs an overhaul and will no longer take applications from colleges.
Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools, which accredits for-profit colleges, has been the subject of much criticism from state officials claiming that rather than operate as a watchdog over its schools the agency allowed shoddy accreditation practices.
“Every aspect of the agency must be re-evaluated, fortified and enhanced,” said ACICS’ top executive Anthony Bieda in a press release distributed on Monday.
ProPublica reported this week there are serious problems at the organization and that “students at ACICS-accredited schools graduate at particularly low rates and often can’t pay off their debt.
In April, the Overland Park-based Wright Career College filed for bankruptcy and closed campuses here and in four other cities. The initial filing estimated liabilities of between $1 million and $10 million and estimated the number of creditors at between 1,000 and 5,000.
Wright was just the latest in a long list of colleges accredited by ACICS that have collapsed in recent years leaving thousands of students without degree completion, and drowning in student loan debt. One example is Corinthian Colleges Inc. where nearly 350,000 students took out some $3.5 billion in federal student loans to take Corinthian classes since 2010, according to the U.S. Department of Education.