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ACICS President Albert C. Gray Responds to Washington Post Article

Dear Editor:

The Post’s Sept. 8 story “What staggering loan defaults at for-profit schools say about accreditors,” makes broad assumptions about education quality and student loan defaults, citing a new Center for American Progress study. But while discussing loan default rates, what’s missed is this: Many of the private, independent colleges and schools accredited by ACICS serve communities where there are few postsecondary education options – and most serve students who are typically financially independent from their parents, come from economically disadvantaged backgrounds, and typically are the first in their families to attend college.

Without access to federal aid, the gates to post-secondary education would swing shut for this population – many of whom are working adults raising families of their own. ACICS-accredited schools are focused on meeting the needs of these non-traditional students who are pursuing economic opportunity through professional, occupational or technical education. To that end, ACICS’ accreditation process is designed to ensure institutions achieve strong student retention, licensure and job placement rates and that students’ training and education prepares them well for employment. There is work to be done, to be sure; that’s why we’re working with schools, employers and policymakers to strengthen the accreditation process.

Albert C. Gray, Ph.D.
President and CEO, ACICS