USCIS No Longer Recognizes ACICS-Accredited Schools Impacting Some STEM OPT, H-1B and I-140

On August 19, 2022, the US Department of Education no longer recognizes the Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools (ACICS) as an accrediting agency. On November 1, 2022, USCIS announced how the loss of recognition will impact certain immigration benefit applicants. Students from impacted schools should contact their DSO immediately and discuss how to maintain their status.

English language study programs by ACICS-accredited schools will no longer be recognized and pending I-539 applications seeking to join an English language study program will receive an RFE about accreditation.

The 24-month STEM OPT may be denied if a STEM degree was obtained from an ACICS-accredited institution.

I-140 EB2 based on beneficiary having an advanced degree may also be denied if that degree was awarded by an ACICS-accredited school. Students with an advanced degree from ACICS-accredited schools will not qualify for the H-1B advanced degree exemption. Finally, employers will no longer qualify for the cap or ACWIA fee exemption as an institution of higher education if they were ACICS-accredited.