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Accreditation FAQ
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Q: How does my business school or program become a member of ACBSP?
A:
The path to ACBSP accreditation begins with membership. To be eligible for ACBSP membership, colleges and universities based in the United States must be regionally accredited. Schools outside the U.S. must have documentation from the government stating recognition, accreditation, and/or their right to grant degrees in order to be eligible for ACBSP membership.

This Member Enrollment Form serves as our application to membership and is used to create your member record in our database. It provides you the opportunity to enroll the president/rector, provost, business dean, and all faculty as individual members. Individual membership is granted at no additional cost or dues amount. All individuals listed on the Member Enrollment Form receive a variety of individual member benefits. You may return the form by fax or a scanned copy via email.

A third requirement is payment of annual membership dues. The annual membership dues are $1,350 for the membership year (July 1 – June 30).Membership dues are prorated depending on the time of year membership begins. You may use wire transfer, check on a U.S. bank, or pay by credit card. Upon joining, your institution will be listed as a member of ACBSP. A tab on our home page links to a current listing of our members.

Q: What is individual membership?
A:
When the business unit at your college or university becomes a member of ACBSP, that membership is extended to every individual involved in the delivery of business education without payment of additional dues or fees. That means that you can be one of more than 10,000 individual ACBSP members worldwide. Whether you take advantage of networking and programming at the Annual Conference or apply for the Teaching Excellence Award, we want you to enjoy all the individual member benefits ACBSP offers. These benefits exist for all individuals regardless of accredited status.

Q: What are the member benefits for the business school?
A:
ACBSP is most noted for benefits related to the accreditation of the business unit, but other benefits are provided to the business unit as well including professional opportunity advertising, a student leadership award, and a peer review service. You can find a listing of all the benefits for both the business unit and the individual members affiliated with the business unit on pages 4-5 of Discover ACBSP.

Q: Do I have to join as an individual member?
A:
No. We fully acknowledge that you might not have agreed to be an individual member or might not be aware that you were enrolled when the business unit became a member. If for any reason you wish to drop this membership, please send a message to Sherry Williams at swilliams@acbsp.org. If you have any comments on how we have or have not best served you as an individual member, we welcome your message at any time to Douglas Viehland, Executive Director, dviehland@acbsp.org.

Q: How do I start the accreditation process after we become members?
A:
Once a college or university joins ACBSP, the business school may file an application and letter with the ACBSP offices, requesting to enter Candidacy for Accreditation. Two separate applications are used for Baccalaureate/Graduate Degree institutions — one for schools outside the United States and one for schools in the United States. Associate Degree institutions may use the Associate Degree Application for Candidacy.

For colleges and universities with multiple branch campuses, ACBSP allows one campus to join as a member, but requires all branch campuses to be brought into membership before the college or university is allowed to enter candidacy for accreditation. A prorated dues amount is applied to these additional campuses.

We have two publications that outline the process for obtaining accreditation: one for baccalaureate/graduate degree programs and one for associate degree programs. An introduction defines specialized accreditation and its value in business.

Q: What are the next steps after our Candidacy for Accreditation is approved?
A:
Following approval of the application for candidacy, we change the website listing to reflect your new status and can provide a logo to use on your website. Now your accreditation journey has begun. A mentor who is familiar with the process and your type of institution will be assigned to work with you through the accreditation process. We also assign a member of the Baccalaureate/Graduate Degree Board of Commissioners to assist our baccalaureate/graduate degree members. While a specific commissioner is not assigned at the associate degree level, the commissioners are available to answer any questions you might have.

Work begins with Preliminary Visit Questionnaire. Two separate documents are used, one for associate degree programs and one for baccalaureate/graduate degree programs. This is done with the assistance of the mentor with a final response to their mentor. The candidate will develop an action plan intended to help all involved determine the readiness of the business school to enter the self-study process. After the preliminary visit questionnaire is complete, an evaluation (gap analysis) is made by the mentor, staff, and institution business unit to determine readiness to begin the self-study. An action plan is developed to close the gaps found during the analysis. When all agree the school is ready, the self-study begins.

Q: What is the focus of the self-study?
A:
The self-study is based on the ACBSP Standards and Criteria for Demonstrating Excellence in Associate Degree Schools and Programs or Standards and Criteria for Demonstrating Excellence in Baccalaureate/Graduate Degree Schools and Programs with the school demonstrating that it sufficiently meets the criteria and identifying possible areas for improvement. As an aid you can request examples of previous self-studies that are considered best practices.

Q: What is the next step after we complete our self-study?
A:
When the self-study is complete, it is submitted to the ACBSP office, which verifies that all required information is provided. A site team of three is assigned and a site visit planned. You may be involved in selecting the site team. A consensus call of the team will precede the visit to develop a consensus that the school is ready for the visit and to identify missing information that will be requested for presentation during the visit. We have two review cycles each year. Self-studies submitted by August 15 will have a visit scheduled for the last week of September or the first two weeks in October. Self-studies submitted by January 15 will have a site visit scheduled for the last week in February or the first two weeks in March.

Q: Will the site team inform us of their decision?
A:
No, all final decisions are made by the Board of Commissioners following several additional steps. Following the site visit, the evaluators submit a report to ACBSP, which is then sent to the president and the head of the business unit for their review and comment. The self-study, evaluator report and comments of the institution and business unit are all reviewed by the staff and the assigned commissioner, who reports to the Board during their meeting at the end of November (fall cycle) or April (spring cycle), and action is taken.

Q: What happens if accreditation is confirmed?
A:
Our process is planned for success. We would not let you start the self-study unless you were ready. That is the purpose of the preliminary visit questionnaire. Nor would we send a site team unless the report was complete and a positive result was likely to occur. That is the purpose of the consensus call. Given this process, it is likely the decision would be positive. However, there are exceptions and every year there are deferrals and the business unit is asked to provide additional information or take specific steps for action before approval is granted. This is not a denial and nearly all schools that are deferred make the required improvements and gain accreditation eventually. Even if accreditation is granted, the Board will likely identify "opportunities for improvement.” The school will work during the first several years following initial accreditation to remove notes and conditions. Remember, accreditation is a continuous improvement process leading to a higher quality education for students.

Q: When and how will we be notified of the decision?
A:
Once we confirm that all fees and expenses are paid, the school is notified by December 1 (fall cycle) or May 1 (spring cycle) of the decision and your institution’s listing under the "Current Accredited Members and Programs” tab on the website is changed from "candidate” to "accredited.” Various governing bodies that report and list accredited schools are notified. You may begin to promote your accredited status. Board actions are posted on the ACBSP website with a general reference to the specific standard.

Q: For how long is accreditation granted?
A:
Accreditation is granted for 10 years. During the intervening years, a quality assurance report is required to be filed every two years.

Q: How long does it take to complete the process and what are the costs?
A:
Two documents are provided that give detailed information — Estimated Costs and Timeline for Accreditation by Schools Located Outside the United States and Estimated Costs for Timeline for Accreditation by Schools located in the United States.

Q: What is the best way to celebrate our accomplishment once our business programs are accredited?
A:
All institutions that have been granted initial accreditation or reaffirmation of accreditation during the fall or spring cycle will be recognized during an Accreditation Banquet at the ACBSP Annual Conference in June. We encourage everyone involved in your accreditation process to register for the Annual Conference and be honored at this event. A professional photographer will provide an official photo as a member of the Board of Commissioners joins the Director of Accreditation to present your framed certificate.

We provide several tools to assist you in promoting your accredited status, including:

  • ACBSP Accredited logo
  • ACBSP Accredited lapel pin
  • ACBSP Accredited Mini-gonfalons — small banners for display at your college or university
  • The Value of ACBSP Accreditation brochures — one for students and one for employers

Please reference the Products to Promote Your Accredited Status order form for more information or contact the ACBSP office at 913-339-9356 or at info@acbsp.org.

Q: How do I become an ACBSP site team evaluator?
A:
We have online training for anyone interested in serving as a site team evaluator. A member login is required to read the content and to complete the training. Additional training may be required. Contact Diana Hallerud, Assistant Director of Accreditation for more information, dianahallerud@acbsp.org.

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