Spring 2016 Updates

Thank you for your nice comments on the inaugural blog entry. As we begin March 2016, the ACCET staff is finishing up visits with team evaluators in preparation for the April Commission meeting. The weather has raised havoc on a number of occasions for some teams but with the support and flexibility of our member institutions scheduled for visits, we have been able to cover all of our bases. Like all of you, we are eagerly awaiting the arrival of spring!

The agenda for the April Commission meeting is a crowded one with a number of carryover items from December 2015 and consideration of those member institutions visited in the last two months. In addition, the Commission will take an afternoon to focus solely on our Strategic Priorities. In the two years since the priorities and action items were initially approved, there has been tremendous and rapid progress to the degree that we need to develop a new set of tasks to be accomplished and possibly add an additional strategic priority or two. (An updated copy of the Strategic Priorities Scorecard can be found on this website to give you a better idea of the accomplishments to date.) The Commission will continue to focus on assuring that ACCET will remain relevant and vibrant in this rapidly changing environment. It is no secret that increased government regulations and negative publicity about career colleges has impacted our vocational schools while the strong dollar and less financial support from some key overseas governments have negatively affected our language schools. The Commission will keep these realities in mind as it charts a course for ACCET and its members in the future.

It is hard not to be subsumed by Presidential politics during this election year but a reminder that local congressional races and elections for state legislatures and other positions often impact our member institutions to a very great degree. It is important to assess where all the candidates, not just the incumbents, stand on key issues related to for-profit education. Inviting candidates to visit your schools, holding town meetings and candidate forums on your campuses and educating your communities on key issues are vitally important for future viability.

We are off to a good start here in 2016 and look forward to our continued interaction with our members. Thank you for your continued support and cooperation. My best wishes to all.

Greetings for the New Year!

Greetings to all with wishes for a productive and peaceful 2016.   We begin the year here at ACCET by launching this Executive Director’s update on our website as an additional manner to communicate with our members.

The year 2015 was a banner year for ACCET.  As of the August 2015 Commission meeting, we welcomed 19  new member institutions while losing just a few despite these traumatic times that have impacted so many post-secondary organizations.  Our annual conference in Hershey was viewed by most as the “best ever” with great attendance, programs, interaction with ACCET staff and Commissioners, vendors and keynote speakers.  The opportunity to hear Milton Hershey School President Pete Gurt and to learn about the unparalleled act of philanthropy by Katherine and Milton Hershey over a decade ago was clearly a highlight.  The year also saw expanded accreditation workshop sites and an increase of Team Evaluator workshops.  Our ACCET standards were upgraded as part of an extensive review that we undertake every five years and we continued to accomplish activities outlined in our Strategic Priorities document to such a degree that the Commission will develop a new series of tasks at the upcoming April 2016 meeting.  James Doran, Carol Crehan, Simin Xi and Christina D’Antoni all joined the staff and have been great additions.  We face 2016 with confidence and vigor.

As approved by the Commission Executive Committee at its December 2015 meeting, the 2016 ACCET budget contains no increases in either sustaining fees or visit fees for our members.  This may not be possible in future years, but the staff believes we can make ends meet this coming year, especially since our members’ budgets are tighter than ever.  I am also pleased to announce that former ACCET staff member, Donna Hutchinson, will return to the staff fulltime and, among other duties, will lead the Program Approval process as the result of John Gregg’s retirement.  Donna brings great expertise and experience to this role that demands excellent and timely customer service.

Finally, on occasion, I will use this space as a “gentle pulpit” to challenge and encourage our membership.  My thoughts and concerns recently have centered around the safety and comfort of the thousands of students at ACCET schools who practice Islam.  The current environment demands extra efforts on our part to see that our Muslim students remain welcome participants in our organizations and that our extra outreach assures that they feel safe in both their academic and residential settings.  From conversations with some of you, I know that this outreach is already occurring but it, unfortunately, will mean an ongoing initiative to offset stereotypes perpetuated by some politicians and some media outlets.    I realize that I am largely “speaking to the choir” but as a former college president and dean of students, I know firsthand how fragile such relationships are in times of considerable stress and questioning.  Thank you for considering my comments.

I continue to take great pride in ACCET and in our membership who have set and kept high standards over the years. I thank you for your continued engagement and hope that 2016 is a positive and productive year for all of us.

Team Evaluators Workshop 2015

May 1, 2015 – May 1, 2015

1722 N St NW

View MapMap and Directions | Register


The Team Evaluator Workshop is a full day simulated visit. Registrants will receive a team packet with resource materials from the famous Ghostbusters University.

Learn from the best! Charlie Matterson, Donna Hutchison, George Carter, Carol Buchanan, Scott Faulstick, and John Shaheen.

Participants will work in teams to interview school personnel, receive feedback, and prepare short write-ups of pertinent facts, strengths and weaknesses.

The day will end with a full ACCET style exit interview, including an in-depth theater style “Talk-back” with key staff and participants.


Projecting Debt-to-Earnings Rates

Projecting Debt-to-Earnings Rates
December 9, 2014
1:00 pm CST

Though the regulations will not take effect until July 1, 2015, and lobbying, elections, and court challenges likely stand between the effective date and the first round of possible sanctions, many institutions already are attempting to assess whether their GE programs will produce passing rates. This webinar will focus exclusively on the projection of debt-to-income rates, providing participants with a step-by-step process for estimating program performance under the new rules.

Register Here!

The gainful employment webinar series will be presented by Aaron D. Lacey, a partner in Thompson Coburn’s Higher Education practice and editorial director of REGucation, the firm’s higher education law and policy blog. An experienced higher education attorney, with time served both as outside and in-house counsel, Aaron’s practice is dedicated entirely to assisting postsecondary institutions and their partners to advance their educational and operational objectives while navigating complex regulatory environments. You can find Aaron on Twitter (@HigherEdCounsel) and on LinkedIn.

Mr. Lacey presented a breakout at the ACCET annual conference in San Diego, November, 2014.