Civil Rights Groups Shame Department of Education for Reinstating ECA

Education 01.17,19

January 17, 2019

For Immediate Release
Contact: Shin Inouye, 202.869.0398, inouye@civilrights.org

WASHINGTON – Today, The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights and 12 national and local education and civil rights groups sent a letter to Secretary Betsy DeVos and the Department of Education regarding the reaccreditation of the Education Corporation of America (ECA), a for-profit academic institution that historically and disproportionately disenfranchises black and brown students.

The groups write in part:

“For-profit institutions of higher education that target students of color for enrollment in high-cost, low-quality programs limit students’ opportunity and undermine the federal financial aid program. Without ensuring sufficient oversight and accountability, the U.S. Department of Education (the Department) has allowed ECA and other institutions like it to take advantage of students. Whether measured by the dismal earnings outcomes for students who earned a credential or degree from ECA, high student loan default rates, ineligibility for promised licenses, or serious financial problems, the Department repeatedly failed to respond to urgent signs that this institution was taking advantage of students. Furthermore, the Department proactively reinstated as an accrediting agency the Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools (ACICS), which originally lost recognition as an accreditor following a pattern of failures of oversight. The Department’s reversal allowed ECA to continue to operate and enroll more students. If this reinstatement had been prevented, ECA would have closed in a more orderly fashion, allowing students to transfer or seek closed school discharges; new students would have been saved from enrolling; and current students would have wasted less of their time, money, Pell grant eligibility, and federal loan dollars at these institutions. By reinstating ACICS, the Department enabled ECA and contributed to the harm students continue to experience.”

The letter can be read in its entirety here.

The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights is a coalition charged by its diverse membership of more than 200 national organizations to promote and protect the rights of all persons in the United States. The Leadership Conference works toward an America as good as its ideals. For more information on The Leadership Conference and its 200-plus member organizations, visit www.civilrights.org.