As you may have heard that the U.S. Department of Education (USDE) revoked its recognition of the Accrediting Council of Independent Colleges and Schools (ACICS) as an accrediting agency. You may be wondering how this may have an impact on your status as a student.
We would like to make it clear that NAU has always been a university of good standing in terms of accreditation and recognition by the Department of Education and Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board. The Department of Education’s decision regarding ACICS has nothing to do with practices of NAU and it should not be considered as a defect on our standards. NAU still has the privileges of federal student financial assistance programs and will continue enrolling F-1 students. The Department of Education gives us a window of 18 months to switch to another accreditation agency, which applies to all universities under the same circumstances.
NAU has already applied to earn accreditation from ACCSC and we are happy to share that our status is “In-Process Application”. This is an important step in earning accreditation with ACCSC and maintaining our status with the Department of Education, and it allows us to continue the process. The next steps for us are to address any questions ACCSC has about the application and prepare a Self-Evaluation Report in advance of an ACCSC visit to our campus. We have a firm belief that we will receive ACCSC accreditation within the specified timeframe.
North American University has 18 months following the loss of its Department-recognized accrediting agency to find a new accrediting agency to maintain eligibility to receive funds under Title IV, HEA programs. NAU will no longer be eligible to receive funds under Title IV, HEA programs only if NAU does not obtain accreditation by June 12, 2018.
We also would like to note that ACICS has taken legal action in federal court to reverse the decision, the outcome of which is pending and may take several months to resolve. North American University is taking necessary steps to ensure students are not affected by such a change regardless of the court decision.
Any student at North American University who has a complaint relating to Title IV eligibility or administration, the quality of education received at the Institution, or otherwise relating to the accreditation standards of its former accrediting agency can submit that complaint to NAU and/or to any of the following:
U.S. Department of Education
U.S. Department of Education
400 Maryland Avenue, SW Washington, D.C. 20202
State Department of Education
Texas Education Agency
1701 North Congress Avenue Austin, TX 78701-1494
Phone: (512) 463-9734
State Higher Education Agency
Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board
1200 E. Anderson Lane Austin, TX 78711-2788
Phone: (512) 427-6101
State Office of Attorney General
Office of the Attorney General
PO Box 12548 Austin, TX 78711-2548
State Office of Consumer Affairs
Office of the Attorney General Consumer Protection Division
PO Box 12548 Austin, TX 78711-2548
North American University is dedicated to the success of our students and delivering high quality educational programs. NAU values the importance of the transparency of our academic programs and the oversight an accreditor provides. We are currently in the process of seeking a new federally recognized accrediting agency to continue to exceed the highest standards of excellence in higher education.
For more information about the recent decision regarding ACICS and how it affects our students, please view the frequently asked questions below.
There is no immediate impact on your financial aid. Students will continue to have access to federal student aid during the 18-month period that NAU pursues new accreditation. If you are due to complete your program within the next 18 months, it is likely this decision will not disrupt your access to financial aid for those who qualify. We are currently in the process of seeking a new federally recognized accrediting agency to maintain access to financial aid for those who qualify.
Students eligible to receive veteran’s education benefits through NAU will continue to remain eligible for up to 18 months, as long as NAU remains in good standing with our respective State Approving Agency. We are currently in the process of seeking a new federally recognized accrediting agency to maintain access to veteran’s benefits.
Decisions concerning the acceptance of credits earned in any course taken at NAU are made at the discretion of the receiving institution. NAU makes no representation whatsoever concerning the transferability of any credits earned at NAU to any institution. The student must contact the registrar of the receiving institution to determine what credits earned at NAU, if any, that institution will accept.
ACICS was a federally recognized accreditation agency before December 12, 2016. If you completed your degree before then, the current situation with accreditation does not change your status. If you do have concerns about any possible impact on licensing or certification requirements, please contact the appropriate licensing board in your state or country.
Recognition of any academic credential can vary across different states, countries, employers and other universities. If you have concerns about any possible impact on licensing or certification requirements, please contact the appropriate licensing board. If you are planning to pursue additional academic credentials and are concerned about the recognition of your degree, please contact the universities you are planning to apply to for their specific admissions requirements.
The loss of ACICS’s accrediting status with the U.S. Department of Education does not impact NAU’s status as a Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP)-certified school. Accreditation is not a general requirement for the SEVP so this does not affect your I20 status.
However, the 24-month optional practical training (OPT) extension requires that F-1 students must use a degree from an accredited, SEVP-certified school as the basis for their extension. The school must be accredited at the time the student applies.
NAU has no plans to close and is committed to providing quality educational opportunities to the students, communities and professions it serves.
How does this impact me?
The Gulf Language School is accredited by the Commission on English Language Accreditation and is not impacted by the U.S. Department of Education’s decision against the Accrediting Council on Independent Colleges and Schools.