On December 12, 2016, the U.S. Department of Education announced that it stripped the Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools (ACICS) of its status as an accrediting agency. As a result, the ability of ACICS-accredited schools and programs to participate in the Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP), which enables schools to enroll F and M nonimmigrant students, has been impacted. In lieu of accreditation, a school and program may provide additional evidence to obtain SEVP-certification. However, accreditation is required for English as a Second Language (ESL) programs and institutions seeking to provide students with eligibility to apply for 24-month science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) optional practical training (OPT) extensions. Government guidance for affected schools and students may be found here.