An open letter to the Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools (ACICS)
On September 22, 2016, only 31 days after GROOVE U received its Initial Grant of Accreditation, the US Department of Education de-authorized ACICS as an approved accrediting agency. At no point during GROOVE U’s 15 month accreditation process did ACICS advise GROOVE U of the pending US Department of Education action, although in the time since ACICS has admitted it was well-aware of the fact it was under investigation.
Since its de-authorization, ACICS has been through three presidents and shed dozens of staff members. Despite public statements in which ACICS claims to be improving, GROOVE U has experienced the opposite of ACICS’s public facade. The quality and quantity of service has decreased, with queries going months before ACICS responds — if they even responded at all. Rather than seeking to improve its own outcomes, ACICS adopted an onerous and contentious stance with those whom it claimed to be serving. Although GROOVE U directly, throughly, and forthrightly addressed numerous ACICS queries no matter how small or obtuse, ACICS refused to provide GROOVE U any semblance of customer service or to provide adequate responses to GROOVE U’s queries.
This opaqueness on the part of ACICS is contrary to GROOVE U’s ethos. During the past few months, it has become extremely evident that ACICS has no desire in fulfilling its stated mission to:
“Advance educational excellence at independent, nonpublic career schools, colleges, and organizations in the United States and abroad. This is achieved through a deliberate and thorough accreditation process of quality assurance and enhancement as well as ethical business and educational practice.”
In fact, ACICS representatives have adopted a stance antithetical to its mission statement. As recently as October, GROOVE U formally requested of ACICS how it intended to fulfill its stated mission and, once again, ACICS never responded.
Despite the extreme costs, both from a time and financial investment, GROOVE U completed the accreditation process because we believed it was best for the student. ACICS agreed with GROOVE U’s approach to education when ACICS issued GROOVE U its Initial Grant of Accrediation, stating during the ACICS visit:
“The team would like to commend the two members of the management staff for their effective administration of the campus's program and their commitment to student success, “ and “The campus is a wonderful and unique facility. Mr. Heckelman and Ms. Sarah Overdier lend a personal touch to student success and involvement.”
However, since that time GROOVE U has completely lost confidence in ACICS. We no longer believe ACICS is capable of delivering outcomes that are best for our students. In fact, ACICS’s negligence and/or ineptitude is having a detrimental effect on our campus community.
Thus, effective January 17, 2018 GROOVE U has joined over 125 institutions in voluntarily withdrawing its accreditation from ACICS since September 22, 2016.
During the coming months, GROOVE U will be exploring accreditation through another accreditor, with the goal of locating one who places they same value on student success as we do. In the interim, our voluntary withdrawal of accreditation has no impact whatsoever on the quality of education GROOVE U will continue to provide. Our benchmarks exceeded national averages before ACICS accreditation, and we continue to do so post-ACICS’s loss of recognition by the US Department of Education. This is further evidenced by GROOVE U’s 91% job placement rate in-field and the fact that 85% of our students are highly satisfied with their education at GROOVE U.
Furthermore, GROOVE U remains a State of Ohio approved program. Verification and questions about our state approvals may be directed to the State Board of Career Colleges and Schools, 30 East Broad Street, Suite 2481 • Columbus, OH 43215.
We remain committed to transparency. Please feel free to contact GROOVE U if you have any questions about our decision.
We will continue to be music that works.