Initial Application Process

*Purchase or continue work on an existing initial application.


ACICS works in collaboration with applicant institutions toward meeting ACICS criteria and attaining an accreditation status. Unlike many accrediting agencies, there is no pre-candidacy or candidacy status with ACICS. The entire process may take from nine 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 additional locations must attend an ACICS Initial Accreditation Workshop prior to the completion of the Self-Study. The Initial Accreditation Workshop provides valuable guidance to the Self-Study process. Click here for Instructions on How to Register for a Workshop.

Shown below is a summary of the typical process.




STEP 1: Complete the Initial Applicant Self-Assessment Checklist. 
Both the Main and each additional location MUST meet these minimum standards of eligibility. Do Not proceed to Step 2 unless you meet the minimum standards of eligibility listed on the Initial Applicant Self-Assessment Checklist. If you have questions about your eligibility, please contact Dr. Joseph Gurubatham, ACICS Executive Vice President of Accreditation and Institutional Development, at


STEP 2: Registration of Institution, Corporation, and Individuals (See Registration Instructions) The person completing the registration will be responsible for communicating the login and password to key institution personnel. This login and password will be for the institution and should be shared only at the discretion of the CEO or campus president.

Data related to your institution is demographics, structure, student enrollment, personnel and mission will be required at the time of registration, which MUST be completed in one seating.  These registrations are not indications of eligibility or an invitation to apply.

a) Institution: The Main and any additional campus location must register separately. Each campus must have a unique email account that will live with that campus and will be dedicated to ACICS communication. Including the location (city) will help differentiate the additional campus locations (e.g.

b) Individuals: The CEO and campus director(s) will need to have an active individual record in our system before they can attend the required Initial Accreditation Workshop. Personnel assigned key roles within the accreditation process should also register themselves as individuals.

c) Corporations (Company): The owning corporation of an initial applicant must also register using the company registration type.

Remember to record your login and password for future reference.



STEP 3: Submit the ACICS Program Enrollment and Graduation Data Sheet (a separate form is required for each Main and additional location)
Initial applicants who meet the minimum standards of eligibility listed on the Initial Applicant Self-Assessment Checklist, should complete the ACICS Program Enrollment and Graduation Data Sheet for the Main and each additional location and e-mail the document(s) to

The subject line of the e-mail MUST include the official institution name, “Initial Applicant” and identify if the form is for the Main or Additional Location [Example: Subject: ABC Institution – Initial Applicant – Main Campus or Subject: ABC Institution – Initial Applicant – Tucson Branch] 


STEP 4: Review Submitted Documentation
ACICS will review the information submitted by the initial applicants through registration and the Program Enrollment and Graduation Data Sheet(s). The on-site administrator and/or CEO will be contacted if additional information is required.

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
Prior to purchasing the Initial Accreditation Application, applicants need to view the online form by clicking here. The applicant, after receiving the invitation from ACICS and when ready to purchase the application, should login using the username and password created during registration. 

Purchase Instructions   


STEP 6: Submit documents required to complete Part I of the initial application process. 
The documents required for upload at this stage include:

1. State Authorization to Operate
 Campus Accountability Report (CAR) for Initial Applicants (Applicants must use the most current July 1 - June 30 reporting period)
3. Official Catalog
 Ownership Disclosure
 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.
5. Audited Financials (Please click here for the Guidelines and Instructions)  
The institution must upload the documents according to the Initial Accreditation procedures. 




STEP 7: ACICS Official Review 
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 8: Schedule Resource Visit 
In preparation for the scheduling of the resource visit, ACICS will request a draft Institutional Effectiveness Plan (IEP), for staff review. Then, in cooperation with the institution, ACICS will schedule a Resource Visit. An invoice will be generated and sent to the institution for payment.

Click here for the list of materials that must be in the designated room for ACICS staff review. 


STEP 9: Conduct a Resource Visit
 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 10: Submit payment for the initial Resource Visit 
Payment for the Initial Resource Visit is done through the ACICS e-business site.  Once you log on, go to My Account/My Orders.

Click Here for instructions on how to pay for a product. Credit cards are the accepted method for payment.


STEP 11: Review/Approval of Resource Visit Report
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 12: Submission of Part II of the initial application - Self Study. Log on and go to "In Process Applications" (steps 5-7 of Instructions for Purchasing an Application). Submit the following documents:

• Explanation
• Future Plans
• Institutional Effectiveness Plan (IEP)
• Current Catalog
• Academic Credit Analysis
• Inventory of Equipment
• Faculty and Administrative Staff Summary Form
• Self- Study Narrative 
• 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 13: Schedule the Initial Grant 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 14: Submit payment for the Grant Visit
Payment for the Grant Visit is done through the ACICS e-business site.

Click Here for instructions on how to pay for a product. Credit cards are the accepted method for payment. 




STEP 15: Institution will be sent a copy of the team report and invited to respond.
The institution must correct and address all citations and concerns expressed in the team report. The assigned staff coordinator is available to provide assistance as needed. 





STEP 16: All of the materials pertaining to the institution, reports of the visit, and the institutional response will be reviewed by the 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.

The recommendations may 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.

Their recommendation will be submitted to the Council for consideration. 





STEP 17: 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. 

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 and the initial application process, please contact Dr. Joseph E. Gurubatham, ACICS Executive Vice President of Accreditation and Institutional Development at