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A Quick Look at ACBSP

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Speaking of online business accreditations, you may be familiar with these three accreditation agencies: AACSB, ACBSP, and IACBE.

All of them belong to specialized accreditation, which doesn’t award the entire school but a specific program or department in the college or university. I’d like to introduce one of these three accreditations – ACBSP and discuss why you should pay attention to it when you wish to get an online business degree.

What is ACBSP?

ACBSP, the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs, is one of the specialized accreditation agencies for business that focus on teaching and learning outcomes. It doesn’t mean that ACBSP thinks little of scholarly research. ACBSP is committed to balancing between scholarly research and teaching. Besides, it also blends instructional theory with application by encouraging instructors to enter into the real business world at present.

Established in 1988, the agency exists for 24 years. At that time, ACBSP refers to the Association of Collegiate Business Schools and Programs. Before the birth of ACBSP, 10 percent of the business schools were accredited by another agency named AACSB which was founded in 1916. However, AACBS placed more emphasis on scholarly research. Thus, the other 90 percent believed an accreditation agency was needed to be created exclusively for teaching and learning purpose. That’s why ACBSP appears.

Is it recognized by the U.S. Department of Education?

No, ACBSP is recognized by the Council for Higher Education. At first, I mean in 1992, ACBSP was indeed recognized by the U.S. Department of Education until 1996 when the Education Department decided not to consider the ACBSP accreditation as a must for educational institutions to be qualified for U.S. federal government programs. So the Council for Higher Education was born to recognize business and its relevant programs.

Why does it matter?

ACBSP is the second leading accreditation agency in business education besides AACSB. The word “second” means the second oldest. My theory is that AACSB is no better than ACBSP, though AACSB has a longer history. They just have different focuses. Consequently, if teaching and learning are of upmost priority to you, colleges accepted by ACBSP are the best choices.

As an institution, the accreditation of ACBSP can raise its prestige and help strengthen the quality of teaching and learning. In addition, being accredited by ACBSP can increase the likelihood of getting funding resources.

For students who are seeking online business degrees, ACBSP can be an additional guarantee to make it easier to get a better job or pursue a further degree in your area.

How to get membership of ACBSP?

Prior to getting ACBSP membership, an institution should be first accredited regionally. When this requirement is met, any educational institution is eligible for a membership of ACBSP, only if it has been providing Associate’s Degrees, Bachelor’s Degrees and Master’s Degrees in business for at least 2 years. Moreover, you should pay the membership dues to continue your membership.

The amount of the membership dues is determined by the time you apply for a candidate of ACBSP. The sooner you submit your application, the less membership dues you will pay for. Basically, the membership year of ACBSP counts from July 1 this year to June 30 in the next year. If you don’t plan to submit application during this period, the membership dues will be $1,350. Suppose you apply for a candidate on October 1 this year, the membership dues will be reduced to $1,012.5. If your application falls on January 1 next year, you just pay $675 as the membership dues.

Do ACBSP members refer to ACBSP candidates?

No. A member of ACBSP means the institution has paid for the membership dues but has not submitted the accreditation application materials. After the application materials of accreditation and the application fee of $2,500 are received by ACBSP, there will be a preliminary review conducted on your submitted documentations. And your institution will become a candidate of ACBSP, once your application documents are approved.

ACBSP will provide candidates with assistance during this period, yet it can’t be mistakenly believed that a candidate will necessarily get accredited in the end.

By saying assistance, I mean a mentor from ACBSP will be assigned to your institution to offer help in completing the preliminary visit questionnaire. And then you have to send your response to the mentor who will then review it and send feedback to you. When the mentor and your institution have made an agreement on it, the self-study can be conducted.

The self-study is used to check out whether your institution has met the ACBSP standards. Once the self-study is submitted, it will be confirmed and your institution will be accredited after the confirmation.

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