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The Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools (ACICS) is a non-profit education corporation recognized by both the United States Secretary of Education and Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA) as an independent and autonomous national accrediting body that accredits institutions of higher education offering programs of study through the master's degree level. ACICS is incorporated in Virginia and operates from offices in Washington, D.C.
The scope of ACICS recognition by the Department of Education and CHEA is defined as accreditation of private post secondary institutions offering nondegree programs or associate’s, bachelor’s and master’s degrees in programs that are "designed to train and educate persons for professional, technical, or occupational careers."
As an accreditor for many for-profit colleges, ACICS provided information during U.S. Congressional investigations of for-profit education in 2010. ACICS reported that the institutions it accredits are required to demonstrate a student retention rate of at least 75 percent.  Retention rates are calculated within a single academic year.