Initial Application Process

Begin Initial Application Process

*Please Note: ACICS is not currently accepting applications for initial accreditation.*

Please see below for all of the steps involved in completing the initial application process. You may begin these steps at any time by clicking on the link above.

ACICS works in collaboration with applicant institutions toward meeting ACICS standards and attaining an initial accreditation status. Unlike many accrediting agencies, there is no pre-candidacy or candidacy status with ACICS. The entire process may take from 9 months to 18 months, depending upon the ability of the institution to comply with ACICS standards. 

The chief on-site administrators of the main campus and all branches must attend an ACICS Initial Accreditation Workshop
before an initial Resource Visit and within 18 months prior to the completion of the Self-Study. The Initial Accreditation Workshop provides valuable guidance to the Self-Study process.

To begin the process, the following steps will need to be completed:

RESPONSIBLE PARTY                        



STEP 1: Complete the Minimum Eligibility Self-Assessment (MESA) Checklist. 

The main and each branch campus MUST meet these minimum standards of eligibility. You will not be able to proceed with the initial accreditation process unless you meet the minimum standards of eligibility listed on the MESA Checklist. Upon completion and submission of the checklist to ACICS for review, you will receive notification on your ability to proceed with the Initial Registration.  

If you have questions about your eligibility, please contact Ms. Perliter Walters-Gilliam, ACICS Vice President of Accreditation, at  


STEP 2: Register Institution (Main and all branches, including learning sites).  
The link to register will be sent directly to the individual who completed the MESA Checklist above. The registration process requires the provision of critical institutional, campus (main, branch(es), and learning sites), and program information that should be readily available. Additionally, an institutional email address and password will need to be created for each main or branch location. ​The person completing the registration will be responsible for communicating the login and password to key institutional personnel. This login and password will be for the institution and should be shared only at the discretion of the CEO or campus president.

There is no fee for the institutional registration. The information provided by the institution assists ACICS in making a determination regarding basic eligibility and in providing further guidance.



STEP 3: Complete existing contact and administrator information, add any additional campuses and programs and then submit your application for preliminary review. 

Via the ACICS website, click on the “Create an Account​” li​nk
at the top of the homepage to crea​te individual accounts for the chief executive officer and on-site administrators.  Unique email addresses and passwords will be needed for each registration. Additionally, a company (or corporate) account must also be created for the ownership of the institution.


STEP 4: Review Submitted Documentation.
ACICS will review the information submitted by the initial applicants through the online process.

If the initial applicant has met the minimum standards of eligibility and ACICS’s preliminary decision is that the institution is eligible for accreditation, the institution will be formally invited to submit an Initial Accreditation Application. The invitation letter will be emailed and/or sent via first mail to the executive officer or president. The e-mail will be sent to the address entered during registration. 





STEP 5: Purchase of the Initial Accreditation Application (Phase IA Uploads).
Once an institution has received an invitation to apply, they may log in, using the username and password created during the registration, and begin uploading documents to their application to complete the first phase. The following documents must be submitted during this first phase:

1. State Authorization to Operate
Ownership Disclosure (Choose one)
 Ownership Disclosure - Publicly Traded Organization
• Ownership Disclosure - Privately Held
• Ownership Disclosure - Not for Profit Corporation
• Ownership Disclosure - Ltd Partnership w Corp General
• Ownership Disclosure - Ltd Liability Co.
3. Audited Financials Statement for the Most Recent Fiscal Year (Please click here for the Guidelines and Instructions)  

Once these documents have been uploaded AND payment has been submitted through the application, the application will be moved to the next step. 




STEP 6: Official Application Review by ACICS.
ACICS will review the submitted documents and will communicate with the primary contact if additional information or documents are needed. Audited financials will be analyzed by ACICS for a demonstration of financial stability and institutional capacity to support the education programs. 



STEP 7: Initial Resource Visit Preparation (Phase IB Uploads). 

Once the official review is successfully completed, the application will be move to Phase IB enabling the applicant to continue uploading the following documents to their application:  



STEP 8: Schedule a Resource Visit. 

Once Phase IB uploads have been completed,, ACICS will contact the institution to schedule a Resource Visit. An invoice will be generated and sent to the institution for payment. 

The function of the resource visit is to verify the application, visit with key individuals on campus, examine a sample of the records, and assess the general readiness of the institution to pursue accreditation and host a full on-site team visit. It is not the intent of this visit to check the institution’s compliance with all ACICS standards.




STEP 9: Submit payment for the Initial Resource Visit.
Payment for the Intital Resource Visit is done through the ACICS Member Center.


STEP 10: Submit Resource Visit Report Response (If Applicable).
It may be necessary, at the discretion of the ACICS staff, to require a response to the Resource report prior to approving the continuation of the application process. The report will indicate the response due date, after which review, the institution will be notified of its ability to proceed.


STEP 11: Initial Grant Visit Preparation (Phase Part II Uploads).

• Self- Study Narrative 
• Explanation of the Self-Study Process
• Future Plans
• Campus Effectiveness Plan (CEP)
• Current Catalog
• Academic Credit Analysis
• Inventory of Equipment
• Faculty and Administrative Staff Summary Form
• Designated Delegate Form*

*The institution's voting representative indicated on the designated delegate form will become eligible during ACICS matters requiring a vote of the members





STEP 12: Schedule the Initial Grant Accreditation Visit.
ACICS schedules the dates for the team visit in coordination with the institution. All Self Study materials (as outlined above) must be successfully uploaded prior to the scheduling of the visit. Within a month of the travel cycle, the institution will be contacted by the assigned ACICS staff coordinator for visit scheduling.

ACICS will generate and send an invoice for the Initial Grant Visit, following its conclusion. 





STEP 13: Submit payment for the Initial Grant Accreditation Visit.
Payment for the Initial Grant Visit is done through the ACICS Member Portal.

Credit cards are the accepted method for payment. 




STEP 14: Send the Team Report and Invited Institution to Respond.
The institution must correct and address all findings and concerns expressed in the team report. The assigned staff coordinator is available to provide assistance as needed. 





STEP 15: All of the materials pertaining to the institution, reports of the visit, and the institutional response will be reviewed by the Intermediate Review Committee (IRC) members.
This review takes place approximately 2-3 weeks following the conclusion of the travel cycle. The IRC's recommendation will be submitted to the Council for consideration.





STEP 16: Application Action by Council

The Council made up of 15 Commissioners will review the entire file and the recommendation of the IRC.

The Council takes an action on the application for the Initial Grant of Accreditation.

Possible actions include:
•  Award an Initial Grant of Accreditation for a specified period of time,
•  Defer action until the next meeting, pending further action by the institution, or
•  Denial of the initial application for accreditation. 

The Council meets in April, August, and December each year. Actions of the Council will be sent in writing within approximately 30 days.

If you need more information on the eligibility requirements, please contact For general questions regarding the initial application process, please contact