On Friday, March 23,
U.S. District Judge Reggie B. Walton ruled that
the U.S. Department of Education
violated the Administrative Procedures Act by "failing to consider various categories of relevant evidence" in its decision to
withdraw ACICS' recognition as a nationally-recognized accreditor.
The case will be remanded back to the Secretary of Education.
ACICS has long maintained that the substantial procedural flaws in the re-recognition process, culminating in the Secretary's Decision, amounted to an unprecedented violation of the Administrative Procedure Act.
ACICS argued in its Motion for Summary Judgment, and the Court agreed, that the Secretary failed to consider all available relevant information, including 36,000 pages of evidence submitted by ACICS in response to a specific request from the Office of the Under Secretary and that the Secretary failed to consider the substantial evidence that ACICS provided of its placement verification and data integrity programs. Michelle Edwards, ACICS President, issued the following statement in response to Friday's ruling:
"We are gratified by today's ruling as we believe the Department failed to review evidence submitted by ACICS documenting many meaningful reforms implemented by the organization. We are studying the ruling and working to understand its implications for the organization moving forward. We know many schools have questions and we will move quickly to address those questions and map out a path forward."