What is Business School Accreditation?
Higher education accreditation is a process that institutions and programs undergo to prove that they meet acceptable levels of quality in higher education. National or regional business school accreditation assures students that an institution of higher learning adheres to high quality standards based on the latest research and professional practice. An accredited institution must continue to demonstrate at regular review cycles that it is developing and growing, not just maintaining existing standards.
Accreditation by a national or regional accrediting body creates a gateway for students to participate in federally funded and state financial aid programs. In order to receive federal funds, an institution must be accredited by a national or regional accrediting body recognized by the U.S. Department of Education (DOE). Attending an accredited institution may also make a studnet more competitive in the job market as some employers will only accept degrees from a regionally accredited institution when considering promotions or salary.
Business schools, like their business counterparts, are looking for ways to improve quality, enhance credibility, increase recognition, and gain a unique position in the marketplace. Through a process of directed self-study/analysis, accredited programs have the opportunity to examine their educational mission and how that mission is realized. The process links goals, activities, and outcomes, and identifies strengths and weaknesses. This process results in a system where the program can truly claim that they can help assure students are learning what the program intends for them to learn in order to meet its mission.
Accreditation benefits include:
- increases a program’s credibility not only with prospective students and parents but also with the business community and prospective donors.
- raises visibility for your business school and your institution and improves the image both project to the world.
- an be used as a valuable marketing tool in press releases, on your website, in social media, and on all printed materials including your catalog, business cards, school stationery, course syllabi, brochures, and newsletters.
- contributes to better reviews by regional accrediting bodies, as specialized accreditation confirms quality standards are being met.
AACSB: The Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB International) http://aacsb.edu/ grants national accreditation to undergraduate and graduate business administration and accounting degree programs. AACSB International accreditation is widely regarded as the highest level of accreditation for business schools, as only 25 percent of U.S. business schools achieve AACSB International accreditation—the hallmark of excellence in management education. Recent standard updates were made in 2013 and can be found in a comparison chart to 2003 standards at: http://aacsb.edu/accreditation/docs/standards-comparison.pdf.
ACBSP: The Association of Collegiate Business Schools and Programs (ACBSP) http://www.acbsp.org/page/main accredits smaller private and public schools that offer associate's, baccalaureate, master's and doctoral-level business degrees that focus on teaching. The ACBSP's national accrediting standards place an emphasis on how the school achieves teaching excellence through outcomes assessment. The accreditation standards are based on quality and the continuous improvement process.
IACBE: The International Assembly for Collegiate Business Education (IACBE) http://iacbe.org/ is the leading outcomes-based professional accrediting organization for business programs in student-centered colleges and universities throughout the world. The IACBE exists to promote, develop, and recognize excellence in business education.
In order to join ASB as a full member a college of business needs to be accredited by AACSB, ACBSP, or IACBE. Those pursuing such accreditation can become Associate Members of ASB.
Other accrediting bodies include:
AMBA - The Association of MBAs (based in London)
EQUIS - European Quality Improvement System (based in Brussels)