Getting Friendly Foxes out of the Henhouse: ITT Whistleblowers and Debt Collective oppose renewal of for-profit accreditors ACICS and ACCSC

alt

Most for-profit colleges make their money by convincing the federal government to give it to them via federal student aid. But the government doesn't really check whether the schools to which it gives money are actually educating students. It outsources that responsibility to companies called "accrediting agencies."

In the for-profit sector, these agencies pretend to care whether students are treated well, but in reality these foxes are in league with the hens.

Accrediting agencies undergo review periodically to be "certified" as legitimate gatekeepers for federal funds. These reviews are almost always rubber stamps. But not this time.

Two of the big accrediting agencies for for-profit colleges are currently up for review. Between them, ACICS and ACCSC have accredited many of the campuses of Corinthian, ITT Tech, Art Institute, Westwood, Argosy, and others.

The last time they were up for review nobody commented. Now that student debtors are organized, that has changed. 35 Debt Collective members submitted comments, joined by attorneys general and multiple other advocates.

But the drama increased last week. Working with the Debt Collective, three former ITT employees sent letters to the Department of Education detailing the wrongdoing they saw going on at the campuses at which they worked and the lack of action ACICS took.

Jennifer Cody recounts how an ITT executive told her not to worry about accrediting since its accrediting agency didn't want to lose the money it received from ITT every year by keeping campuses open.

Rick Bueche describes ACICS employees sequestering themselves from seeing anything that was going on even as blatantly illegal recruiting practices were occurring in the room next door.

Dawn Lueck who worked at both ITT and Corinthian, recounts the lack of attention ACICS paid to multiple warning signs, including complaints from students.

This evidence is damning. Apparently the public hearing scheduled for June 23 is already overbooked. The pressure is on. With collective action, the fraudsters can be beaten.

If you are a former employee who is also ready to speak out, please contact luke@debtcollective.org.