For the first time, a court has ruled the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau attempted to exceed the power given to it by Congress – but the decision may not prevent it from continuing an investigation into the accreditation of for-profit colleges.

In its April 21 opinion, the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia held that the CFPB—established by the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act in 2010 and tasked with overseeing the financial services industry—did not have the authority to issue a civil investigative demand to the Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools.

The CFPB issued the demand to ACICS, an accreditor of for-profit colleges, in August to determine “whether any entity or person has engaged or is engaging in unlawful acts and practices in connection with accrediting for-profit colleges.”

“This seemed to be an attempt to assert further jurisdiction in the for-profit school space, presumably, on the theory, that there was something deficient in the accreditation process,” Ballard Spahr partner John L. Culhane, Jr., said. But in ACICS’ case, he says, the CFPB failed to connect the accreditation and school lending practices.