Initial Applicant - Self Assessment Checklist

The mission of the Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools is to advance educational excellence at independent, nonpublic career schools, colleges, and organizations in the United States and abroad. This is achieved through a deliberate and thorough accreditation process of quality assurance and enhancement as well as ethical business and educational practices.

Both main and additional location MUST complete all steps within the initial application process, including this Self-Assessment Checklist. Based on its determination of eligibility, following the completion of this checklist, the institution should return to the Initial Application Process web page for further instructions. 

Applicants for ACICS Initial Accreditaion must be able to check each of the following:

Type of Institution

           My institution is a post-secondary education institution. (No secondary or elementary schools)

           My institution is independent. (No public institutions) 


Type of Governance

       My institution is registered as a corporation, limited partnership (with a corporate general partner), 
            or as a limited liability company. (No sole proprietorship or partnerships) 


Type of Organization

         My institution is organized as a full-fledged educational institution, providing a full array of service 
              to students (Non-institutional entities may qualify under some circumstances, but they 
              do not qualify for federal student aid programs or to award degree programs)


Level of Program Offerings

         My institution offers certificates, diplomas, associate’s, bachelor’s, and/or master’s degree programs.


Length of Programs

         My institution conforms to accepted practices based on the level of program offerings.

         My institution has at least one program that requires a minimum of 300 clock hours of instruction.


Government Authorization

         My institution is legally organized and formally licensed by the appropriate agency which 
              authorizes postsecondary institutions. 

         My institution has offered educational services for a minimum of two years prior to application.

Financial Stability

       My institution demonstrates financial stability evidenced in an audited financial statement.
            (An audited financial statement will need to be submitted in PART I of this application process).
             The following additional considerations will be given:

  • Unqualified auditor's opinion?
  • Are (unrestricted) cash/cash equivalents more than or equal to 35% of current assets?
  • Allowance for doubtful accounts less than or equal to 20% of accounts receivable?
  • Accounts receivable (net allowance for doubtful accounts) less than or equal to 25% of current assets?
  • Current ratio (current assets/current liabilities) 1:1 or better?
  • Positive income from operations instead of a net loss?
  • Is the operation supporting itself without relying on an influx of cash from the owner/parent?
  • Cash flow from operations positive?

Other factors will be considered during the analysis which may result in questions or concerns regarding an institution's financial stability (Section 3-1-203 of the Accreditation Criteria). Therefore, ACICS makes no guarantee with respect to the institution's ability to proceed following this analysis.


Appropriate Mission

         My institution’s primary mission is to help students develop skills and competencies required for 
              specific professions or careers.


Program Effectiveness and Instructional Delivery

          My institution has more than 50 percent of the programs delivered in classroom-based, on-ground 
              (residential) settings. (No more than 49% of the programs can be offered through online delivery 

          My institution’s program content is comparable to those offered in other accredited institutions.


Adequate Number of Enrollees and Graduates

         My institution’s current enrollment is at least 10 students in a majority of its programs.

         More than 50% of the programs have a minimum of ten graduates from each program 
              during the most recent reporting (July 1 - June 30) year.


Responsibility of the Chief Executive Officer

         CEO is the primary person responsible for complying with accreditation standards

         Application process is authorized personally by the CEO


Consideration of Current and/or Prior Record

The institution’s current and past record with ACICS and other accrediting agencies will be taken into consideration in the application process

          Institution is in compliance with all applicable laws
          Institution is not under a negative action by another accrediting or state agency 

          Owners or managers do not have a record of debarment by ACICS


Determination of Ability to Assess Educational Effectiveness

ACICS has the right to determine if an institution’s organizational structure, program offerings, nature of the delivery systems, institutional capabilities, prior accreditation history, and lack of qualified evaluators at ACICS make it less than acceptable to assess the educational effectiveness of the applicant institution. In such cases, ACICS may either decline an application or propose alternate options prior to pursuing accreditation.


If you have concerns or additional questions on any of the items above and how it affects your institution, please contact us.