ACBSP membership offers a rich variety of benefits in addition to accreditation. Members are invited and receive special pricing to attend ACBSP events, such as ACBSP Conference. Members also have several opportunities to publish a paper or present at an ACBSP event. Additionally, there are several award opportunities available. Other perks include: access to ACBSP publications, past-conference proceedings, and a global membership directory to name a few. Members can also get involved in ACBSP committees and boards of their liking.
Who is ACBSP?
The Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs (ACBSP) is a leading specialized business accreditation association committed to advancing excellence in business education worldwide. Our member institutions share the common belief that an excellent business education is defined by professors who are committed to teaching, students who come from a diversity of backgrounds, and courses that provide relevant skills for real-world opportunities.
How long has ACBSP been around?
ACBSP was founded in 1988 to fulfill a need for specialized accreditation by institutions of higher education with business schools and programs — specifically an accreditation that acknowledged and emphasized quality in teaching and learning outcomes.
The mission of ACBSP is to promote continuous improvement and recognize excellence in the accreditation of business education programs around the world.
Where is ACBSP based?
ACBSP has offices in Overland Park, Kansas, USA and Brussels, Belgium.
Has ACBSP ever changed its name?
Yes. From 1988-2010, ACBSP was the acronym for the Association of Collegiate Business Schools and Programs. In 2010, as part of a two-year overall Rebranding Initiative, and after review and recommendation by the Board of Directors, the Bylaws Committee and the Marketing Committee, the membership voted to adopt a new name that would better reflect a growing global presence and better describe the mission of the association. Keeping the acronym that is familiar to many in business higher education, ACBSP became the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs.
There are other specialized accrediting bodies. What makes ACBSP unique?
ACBSP is the only association accrediting business, accounting, and business-related programs at all degree levels — associate, baccalaureate, master, and doctorate degree levels — worldwide. ACBSP was the first business accreditation association to be recognized by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA) first in 2001 and again in 2011. We have a vibrant, diverse membership that includes public, private, independent, proprietary, faith-based, and Historically-Black Colleges and Universities.
Are all ACBSP members accredited?
No. Membership in ACBSP does not confer accreditation. Member institutions pay annual dues and are eligible for assistance in obtaining accreditation. Some campuses apply to become a candidate for accreditation when they join as members, while others observe the accreditation process before making the decision to pursue accreditation by networking with ACBSP accredited members and attending accreditation sessions at ACBSP events, such as regional meetings, the ACBSP Seminar Series, and the Annual Conference.
ACBSP currently has more than 1,100 campuses in membership. Of those, just over 750 have achieved accreditation and more than 300 are in candidacy for accreditation.
Is my institution required to seek ACBSP accreditation?
Membership is granted to schools that are not seeking accreditation, but desiring other benefits of joining the ACBSP membership. Most ACBSP members, however, do seek accreditation.
How does my business school or program become a member of ACBSP?
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 (see last page) 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.
What is the difference between institutional vs. individual member?
Institutions that join to pursue the ACBSP accreditation process are referred to as institutional members. Institutional members that join ACBSP are allowed to submit the names of individual members that they wish to have on file with ACBSP. These can include the President of the institution, Champion/Co-Champion, faculty members, and other staff members. The individuals listed will then receive a username and password to our website, acbsp.org. Hence, they will be able to access member benefits, such as ACBSP’s publications. At any time that an individual member chooses to be removed from our listing, a request can be submitted to the ACBSP headquarters.
What is the The difference Between Program vs. Institutional Accreditation?
ACBSP accredits business programs. ACBSP does not accredit the institution, only the business programs offered at the institution. Most businesses and universities reviewing transcripts and accepting degrees base their decisions on institutional accreditation. Program accreditation from ACBSP without institutional accreditation may not be considered sufficient when accepting degrees or credits for transfer.
For institutions located within the United States, regional accreditation of the institution is required for membership and accreditation eligibility. Not all countries have the equivalent of regional accreditation and the government may provide the authority to grant degrees. When considering business programs, students are encouraged to contact institutions they may wish to attend in the future as well as the human resource department of specific employers. Degree acceptance policies will vary by institution and employer.
What is individual membership?
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.
What are the member benefits for the business school?
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.
Do I have to join as an individual member?
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 firstname.lastname@example.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 Jeffrey Alderman, CEO/President, email@example.com.
How do I start the accreditation process after we become members?
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.
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.
What are the next steps after our Candidacy for Accreditation is approved?
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. Either document is made available through the Onine Reporting Portal. 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.
What is the focus of the self-study?
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.
What is the next step after we complete our self-study?
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 July 15 will have a visit scheduled for the last week of September or the first two weeks in October. Self-studies submitted by December 15 will have a site visit scheduled for the last week in February or the first two weeks in March.
Will the site team inform us of their decision?
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.
What happens if accreditation is confirmed?
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.
When and how will we be notified of the decision?
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.
For how long is accreditation granted?
Accreditation is granted for 10 years. During the intervening years, a quality assurance report is required to be filed every two years.
How long does it take to complete the process and what are the costs?
What is the best way to celebrate our accomplishment once our business programs are accredited?
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
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, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Interested in Membership?
We would love to have you join the group of educators who are igniting a standard of excellence around the world. Our staff is standing by to answer your questions, so take the first step and apply for membership today!