How does an Accrediting Agency get its authority?

US Department of Education (USDE) gives authority to an accrediting agency to accredit public institutions.

The Process

  1. Once an accrediting agency such as the ACCJC is recognized by the USDE, they maintain their authority by submitting a petition for renewal of recognition every 5 years. This petition must show evidence that it is in compliance with regulations in 34 CFR Subpart B – The Criteria for Recognition (§§ 602.10 – 602.28)
  2. The US Department of Education’s Accreditation Group reviews the Agency’s petition and documentation, all third party comments and related materials. It then writes a draft staff analysis report regarding the Agency’s compliance.
  3. The Agency receives this draft staff analysis and in accordance with due process practices has approximately 30 days to respond and provide additional information and evidence of the Agency’s compliance with the staff findings.
  4. The Agency petition, third party comments and the Accreditation Group’s staff analysis report are provided to NACIQI (National Advisory Committee on Institutional Quality and Integrity) who then holds a meeting to decide on a recommendation. At this meeting they will also hear oral comments from third parties that want to address the committee.
  5. NACIQI sends their recommendation to the Accreditation Group of the DOE.
  6. The staff analysis of the Accreditation Group is finalized and submitted to the Secretary of Education who makes the final decision.


Where is ACCJC in this process?

The ACCJC was scheduled to renew its recognition from USDE in 2013 and go before NACIQI in December. The California Federation of Teachers (CFT) filed a complaint in April 2013 which resulted in the USDE sending a letter to the ACCJC on August 13th informing them that they were out of compliance with Federal Regulations. The ACCJC was told to address the CFT complaints in their petition for renewal. So the staff analysis of the CFT complaint was rolled into the review of the ACCJC petition.

The Save CCSF Coalition and AFT 2121 facilitated over 100 third party comments submitted to the USDE during the open comment period. The Save CCSF Coalition and AFT 2121 also sent 13 people to Washington D.C. to give oral comments before the NACIQI in December 2013. Report from 2013 CCSF Delegation to Washington D.C.

As a result of all of this organizing and compelling oral comments before NACIQI, the USDE sent a letter to the ACCJC on January 28, 2014 putting them on their own “show cause.” The letter identified 15 federal regulations with which the ACCJC was out of compliance. The ACCJC was given one year to come into compliance.

The ACCJC appealed 2 of the 15 regulations. One of them addressed whether or not the ACCJC has “wide acceptance.”

The ACCJC went before NACIQI again in December 2015. Again the Save CCSF Coalition and AFT 2121 facilitated over 100 third party comments submitted to the USDE during the open comment period. This time they sent 33 people to Washington D.C. to give oral comments. Report from 2015 CCSF Delegation to Washington D.C.  However, the comments were restricted and could not include the issue of “acceptance” since the appeal had yet to be decided. Nonetheless, in a humous surreal discussion the NACIQI members clearly saw that they needed to de-list the ACCJC. However, since it was unprecedented they  were unsure and afraid to actually do it. So they kicked the can down the road and gave the ACCJC six more months. 

The ACCJC is scheduled to appear before NACIQI February 22-24, 2017. The issue of “acceptance” will finally be heard. WE NEED TO LET NACIQI KNOW THAT THE ACCJC IS NOT widely accepted. The public comment period is open and the deadline is November 14, 2016 to submit.

Please submit your own third party comments to NACIQI!
INSTRUCTIONS for submitting written comment

Please support the Save CCSF delegation to travel to D.C. to ensure that the DOE does not renew ACCJC authority!