ACICS Loss of Recognition May Affect Certain Students Applying for English Language Study and 24-month STEM OPT Extension Programs, H-1B, and I-140 Applicants

Client Alert!

On Aug. 19, the U.S. Department of Education (ED) announced that it no longer recognizes the Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools (ACICS) as an accrediting agency. This determination immediately affects two immigration-related student programs:

  • English language study programs, as the programs are required to be accredited under the Accreditation of English Language Training Programs Act; and
  • F-1 students applying for a 24-month science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) optional practical training (OPT) extension, as the regulations require them to use a degree from an accredited, Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) certified school for their STEM OPT extension. The school must be accredited at the time of the application; this is the date of the designated school official’s (DSO) recommendation on the Form I-20, Certificate of Eligibility for Nonimmigrant Student Status. M-1 students are not eligible for OPT.


SEVP will provide guidance to affected students in notification letters if their schools’ certification is withdrawn. However, students enrolled at an ACICS-accredited school should contact their DSOs immediately to better understand if and how the loss of recognized accreditation will affect their status and/or immigration benefits applications.

ACICS-accredited schools will be unable to issue program extensions, and students will only be allowed to finish their current session if the ACICS-accredited school chooses to voluntarily withdraw its certification or is withdrawn by SEVP. If a student’s ACICS-accredited school can provide evidence of an ED-recognized accrediting agency or evidence in lieu of accreditation within the allotted timeframe, the student may remain at the school to complete their program of study.

The loss of recognition means that colleges and universities solely accredited by ACICS are no longer accredited institutions, and any degrees conferred by those colleges and universities on or after Aug. 19, 2022, will no longer qualify as a U.S. degree in terms of qualifying for the H-1B advanced degree exemption (also known as the master’s cap) or for the beneficiary requirements. The loss of recognition also affects those I-140 petitions filed under the advanced degree and professional classifications where the beneficiary’s educational credentials must be a U.S. degree or foreign equivalent degree.

However, a degree conferred by those colleges and universities before Aug. 19, 2022, while the college or university was accredited, is generally considered to be a degree from an accredited institution, and can be used to qualify for the H-1B master’s cap or for the beneficiary requirements and I-140 petitions filed under the advanced degree and professional classifications, as long as all other requirements are met.

Click the link to learn more.

Share:

More Posts

December 2022 Visa Bulletin Summary

Client Alert! Throughout the month of December, USCIS will accept employment-based adjustment of status applications from foreign nationals with a priority date that is earlier

USCIS Extends COVID-19-related Flexibilities

Client Alert! U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) is extending certain COVID-19-related flexibilities through January 24, 2023 to assist applicants, petitioners, and requestors. Under these flexibilities,

Send Us A Message

Dana Davidson - Full Bio

Dana T. Davidson holds degrees from the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law and State University of New York at Stony Brook and has been practicing immigration law since 2003 in New York and nationwide. She represents corporations, individuals, and families in a broad range of immigration matters. Attorney Davidson has offices in New York City and Glen Cove.
 

Education

  • Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law, Yeshiva University, New York, New York
  • Juris Doctor – 1988
  • Honors: Moot Court Board, Member, Judge
  • State University of New York at Stony Brook, Stony Brook, New York
  • Bachelor of Arts – 1982
  • Major: Political Science
  • Concentration: Business


Pro-Bono Activities

  • Safe Passage Project, Volunteer Attorney, 2013-Present
  • Educating the Educators, Founder, 2012-Present
  • Momentum Project, Board Member, 1991-1994 Bar Admission
  • New York, Eastern District
  • New York, Southern District
  • Washington, D.C.

Speaking Engagements
 
  • AILA RDC-EMEA Spring Conference 2018, Berlin, Germany, Speaker on “Public Charge” panel
  • AILA RDC-EMEA Fall Conference 2018, Johannesburg, South Africa, Speaker: “Practice Management in the New Age” panel
  • AILA RDC-EMEA Spring Conference 2018, Madrid, Spain, Speaker: “El Traje de Luces: Self-Sponsored Petitions – EB-1A and NIW”  AILA RDC-EMEA Spring Conference 2017, Brussels, Belgium, Speaker: “Continuing Blanket L Challenges”
  • Safe Passage Project, March 2017, Speaker: “Representing Unaccompanied Minors: Special Immigrant Juvenile Status and the Effects of President Trump’s Executive Orders on Immigration”
  • AILA RDC-EMEA Fall Conference 2016, Speaker: “It’s Not About Money: I-864”
  • AILA RDC-EMEA Spring Conference 2016, Vienna, Austria, Speaker: “K-Visa: Differences Between K-1 and I-130 Processing”
  • New York Institute of Technology’s Center for Entrepreneurship, January 2016, Entrepreneur/Executive-in-Residence
  • AILA Fall Conference 2015, London, UK, Speaker: Impact of joint sponsors on family-based cases
  • Goldman-Sachs 10,000 Small Business Education Program, October 2014, “What is required to grow a business?”
  • Dowling College, May 2013, Keynote Speaker at the first annual Latino Summit at Dowling College
  • International Taxation Conference, 2010


Past Positions

  • Fragomen Del Rey Bernsen & Loewy, P.C., Senior Associate, 2001 to 2002
  • Hirson Wexler Perl, LLP, Senior Attorney, 2000 to 2001
  • Chambers Davidson, LLP, Partner, 1992-2000
  • Unity Healthcare Holding Company, Inc., General Counsel, 1989-1991
  • North American Philips Corporation and Philips Credit Corporation, Assistant General Counsel, 1988-1989
  • Certilman Haft Balin Buckley Kremer & Hyman, Law Clerk, 1983-1988

 

Addresses


15 Glen Street, Suite 302A
Glen Cove, New York 11542

5 W 37th Street, Suite 525
New York, New York 10018