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The Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools (ACICS) is a non-profit education corporation recognized by the United States Secretary of Education and Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA) as an independent and autonomous national accrediting body. ACICS was established in 1912. It accredits over 900 institutions of higher education offering undergraduate and graduate diplomas and degrees, including master's degrees, in both traditional formats, and through distance education. 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. 
The ACICS was established upon the request of Benjamin Franklin Williams, President of Capital City Commercial College of Des Moines, Iowa. Upon the meeting of twenty-two school administrators, who met in Chicago, Illinois, on December 12, 1912, the original alliance formed the basis of National Association of Accredited Commercial Schools (NAACS), which later grew into the ACICS of today. Five of these schools still operate under the ACICS accreditation today: