Accrediting agencies assure that institutions meet quality standards in educational practices and processes.
Similar to the institutions they accredit, accrediting agencies which are recognized by the U.S. Department of Education (Department) must undergo a rigid, external review of processes and practices. The agency is recognized by the Department as “reliable authorities concerning the quality of postsecondary education or training offered by educational institutions.” The U.S. Secretary of Education has recognized ACICS since 1956.
Accrediting agencies depend upon the state and the Department to fulfill their oversight responsibilities. Together, these three entities known as “the triad” ensure that institutions are accountable to rigorous educational, administrative, and fiscal standards. The oversight process includes a system of checks and balances.
The Department determines if institutions are eligible to participate in federal assistance programs and enforces regulations governing the adherence to federal student financial aid programs. State agencies grant legal authority to institutions to operate. They also oversee consumer protection.