Executive Director Update - February 2011

Policy Meeting Focuses on Program Integrity

The Council and executive staff dedicated a substantial part of the 2011 policy meeting to review the implications of the new program integrity rules issued by the U.S. Department of Education late last year. The Council analyzed and discussed modifications to ACICS standards and criteria in order to better align expectations of accredited institutions with those of the Department in a number of key areas, including the allocation and definition of credit hours and clock hours (see story below); misrepresentations and disclosures by schools to prospective student and the public; the terms of consortium agreements; and the disclosure and reporting required to demonstrate placement in fields that reflect ‘gainful employment.’ Watch for more guidance on these and other issues in the next edition of the “Memo to the Field,” slated for distribution the first week of March.

Advisory on Compliance with New Clock Hour Regs

As a service to its members, the Council will publish with the March “Memorandum to the Field” an ACICS Advisory on the subject of Compliance with U.S. Department of Education’s Regulation §668.8(l)(2), about clock to credit hour conversion formulas for short vocational training programs.  Through an on-line AWARE webinar, ACICS will guide member institutions in retaining eligibility for Title IV Student Financial Aid for “clock hour programs” which may be less than 900 hours in length, allocate credits based on a 30:1 clock hour to semester hour or 20:1 clock hour to quarter hour conversion ratio, and require both out-of-class homework and in-class instruction.  Upon request, ACICS will review information about these programs submitted on Council forms in order to evaluate the application of institutional policies and procedures regarding the allocation of credit.  This evaluation process, which is subject to change pending release of additional information by the Department, will also apply to applications for substantially modified or new “clock hour programs.” 


Cohort Default Rate Intervention & Support
Institutions accredited by ACICS received access to official 2-year cohort default rates and illustrative 3-year cohort default rates recently, as well as information regarding ways to mitigate the rate of default by students utilizing federal financial aid. ACICS targeted member institutions with two-year rates above the 20% threshold, as prescribed by standard, for special outreach. The institutions were notified about the requirements for additional reporting, developing CDR mitigation plans, and access to other resources that can help lower the risk of defaults. Institutions with three-year rates above 25% were also alerted. The Council values CDR mitigation strategies that focus on student success, including appropriate recruitment and admissions practices, the monitoring and support of attendance and persistence, and best practices for meeting or exceeding standards for retention, completion, graduation and placement.  


Professional Development Conference Survey
As part of an expanded commitment to put information about best practices in the hands of member institutions, ACICS has established its first annual professional development conference for the week of September 26 in Charleston, SC. The conference will feature an array of workshops, guest speakers and general sessions focused on the compliance and continuous improvement issues confronting operations, educational and student relations professionals at member colleges and schools. To help ACICS shape the content and relevance of the conference, we will soon be sending out an electronic survey. Your feedback will be valuable in making the conference informative, provocative and fulfilling.                                          


Mark Your Calendar: Annual Meeting June 3, 4

The Gaylord Texan Resort in Grapevine, TX is the site for the 2011 ACICS Annual Leadership Conference and Meeting. Look for more information soon about programs, speakers and workshops at


Upcoming Workshops and Webinars

Retention and Placement Workshopr
March 4, 2011

AWARE Webinar
March 18, 2011

Evaluator Webinar
March 25, 2011

Accreditation Workshop
April 29, 2011