COLLEGE SAVINGS 101

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Does your school’s accreditation mean anything?
http://www.savingforcollege.com/articles/does-your-school-s-accreditation-mean-anything-952

Posted: 2016-06-17

by Brian Boswell

The ACICS (Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools) is under fire by the U.S. Department of Education. ACICS is one of the country's oldest and largest college accreditors, having been founded back in 1912, it accredits over 800 institutions throughout the U.S. and a dozen foreign countries. It is extraordinarily rare that the DoE stop recognizing an accreditor, so much so that they’ve put up a blog post dedicated to explaining its impact.

The recommendation is the result of a laundry list of concerns stemming from the continued accreditation by ACICS of Corinthian Colleges. Corinthian is now defunct but had been a for-profit school. Many for-profits have faced increased scrutiny and investigation by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau for questionable private loan practices.

RELATED: 4 things to watch out for when applying to a top school

The importance of accreditation

School accreditation is, at a fundamental level, supposed to be an assurance that the institution is reputable; that it is challenging its students and looking out for their best interests. Colleges that are accredited are more likely to accept credits transferred between accredited schools, and offer degrees recognized by employers.

Higher education institutions need to be accredited in order for attending students to use federal aid and tax-preferred savings vehicle withdrawals towards their expenses. This includes 529 savings plans and Coverdell ESAs. Losing accreditation, therefore, makes it much, much more difficult to recruit students because not only is the school’s reputation in question, but there will be financing challenges, too.

RELATED: Find out if your school is 529 plan eligible

Why cracking down is a good thing

For-profit higher education institutions like Corinthians have been under increasing scrutiny in the past several years due to shady loan practices and, frankly, the fact that they’re making a profit when college costs are already so high. If an accreditor is not doing its due diligence in evaluating higher education institutions, it should lose its recognized status with the DoE.

Doing so means that the DoE is doing its job in protecting both taxpayers, who are funding education at accredited institutions, and the students themselves from inadvertently enrolling in a potentially predatory institution. The question now becomes, “How many more schools are out there and accredited that shouldn’t be?”

You can find out if your school or a school you are considering is accredited by ACICS here.

RELATED: The real cost of higher education

The ACICS (Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools) is under fire by the U.S. Department of Education. ACICS is one of the country's oldest and largest college accreditors, having been founded back in 1912, it accredits over 800 institutions throughout the U.S. and a dozen foreign countries. It is extraordinarily rare that the DoE stop recognizing an accreditor, so much so that they’ve put up a blog post dedicated to explaining its impact.

The recommendation is the result of a laundry list of concerns stemming from the continued accreditation by ACICS of Corinthian Colleges. Corinthian is now defunct but had been a for-profit school. Many for-profits have faced increased scrutiny and investigation by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau for questionable private loan practices.

RELATED: 4 things to watch out for when applying to a top school

The importance of accreditation

School accreditation is, at a fundamental level, supposed to be an assurance that the institution is reputable; that it is challenging its students and looking out for their best interests. Colleges that are accredited are more likely to accept credits transferred between accredited schools, and offer degrees recognized by employers.

Higher education institutions need to be accredited in order for attending students to use federal aid and tax-preferred savings vehicle withdrawals towards their expenses. This includes 529 savings plans and Coverdell ESAs. Losing accreditation, therefore, makes it much, much more difficult to recruit students because not only is the school’s reputation in question, but there will be financing challenges, too.

RELATED: Find out if your school is 529 plan eligible

Why cracking down is a good thing

For-profit higher education institutions like Corinthians have been under increasing scrutiny in the past several years due to shady loan practices and, frankly, the fact that they’re making a profit when college costs are already so high. If an accreditor is not doing its due diligence in evaluating higher education institutions, it should lose its recognized status with the DoE.

Doing so means that the DoE is doing its job in protecting both taxpayers, who are funding education at accredited institutions, and the students themselves from inadvertently enrolling in a potentially predatory institution. The question now becomes, “How many more schools are out there and accredited that shouldn’t be?”

You can find out if your school or a school you are considering is accredited by ACICS here.

RELATED: The real cost of higher education

 

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