On August 19, the U.S. Department of Education announced that it no longer recognizes the Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools (ACICS) as an accrediting agency. This loss of recognition affects two immigration-related student programs, including English language study programs and F-1 students applying for 24-month science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) optional practical training extension. For the F-1 students, the regulations require them to use a degree from an accredited, Student and Exchange Visitor Program certified school for their STEM OPT extension. The school must be accredited at the time of the application. The loss of recognition means that colleges and universities solely accredited by ACICS are no longer accredited institutions and any degrees conferred by those schools 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 or for beneficiary requirements at 8 CFR 214.2(h)(4)(iii)(C)(1).

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