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Understanding Business School and University Level Accreditation

In order for business schools, colleges and universities to refer to themselves as accredited, they must undergo a review process. Accreditation holds them accountable to standards for excellence and sets established criteria that they must follow.

It is not a simple task to obtain accreditation — the reputable accrediting agencies have extensive requirements and an ongoing review process to make sure educational institutions are meeting those standards.

University Accreditation

In order to qualify for institutional or university accreditation, an institution must go through an extensive review process, including site visits and evaluation by the accrediting body. There are two types of institutional accreditation: national and regional.

National Vs. Regional Accreditation

While national accreditation sounds more all-encompassing, regional accreditation is generally the stronger of the two. For-profit and vocational institutions tend to hold national accreditation, with standards typically less stringent than those for regional accreditation. Students will want to note that credits they earn at regionally accredited institutions are more likely to transfer, should the need arise.

In the U.S., the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC) is one of seven organizations providing regional accreditation. The SACSCOC accredits educational institutions in the southern states of Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Alabama, Tennessee, Texas and Virginia.

According to SACSCOC, obtaining their accreditation signifies an institution has "a purpose appropriate to higher education and has resources, programs and services sufficient to accomplish and sustain that purpose."

In order to receive SACSCOC's seal of approval, schools must ensure that they meet a number of standards:

  • Integrity
  • Administration and organizational structures
  • Governing boards
  • A mission statement
  • An appropriate faculty-to-student ratio
  • Institutional planning
  • Student achievement
  • Appropriate policies and procedures
  • Approved educational content
  • Learning resources

Business School Accreditation

Much like institutional accreditation, business school accreditation also ensures students are getting a quality education. Specific to business school curricula, this accreditation is also called programmatic accreditation. It bases the discipline-specific evaluation on a number of criteria, including program rigor, learning outcomes and faculty research. Business schools must undergo ongoing compliance checks to make sure their programs meet the accrediting agency's standards.

For our example of business school accreditation, we will look at the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB). Holding AACSB accreditation is considered a strong indicator of excellence in management education because only 25% of business schools in the United States have it. AACSB has an impressive list of standards for business schools to meet that pertain to various criteria: Institutional concentration on strategic management and innovation

  • Mission statement
  • Focus on student career development
  • Faculty qualifications and engagement
  • Curricula management and assurance of learning
  • Learning outcomes and teaching requirements
  • Academic and professional engagement

This type of accreditation ensures that business schools stay competitive, provide quality education, and keep innovating.

How to Check Accreditation? Search DAPIP

An important reason why accreditation matters has to do with funding one's education. A student's eligibility for federal financial aid is contingent on attending an institution with accreditation recognized by the U.S. Department of Education.

You can verify accreditation for an institution or program you are interested in by checking the U.S. Department of Education's Database of Accredited Postsecondary Institutions and Programs (DAPIP). A simple search for the college or university returns details on institutional and programmatic accreditation, including dates of first accreditation and next review.

Accreditation is also important from a student's perspective because it signals the quality of your degree to prospective employers. All else being equal, a hiring manager is more likely to choose a candidate from an accredited school over another from an unaccredited one.

The University of Houston-Victoria (UHV) holds institutional accreditation from SACSCOC as well as business school accreditation from AACSB. Graduates of UHV's MBA programs can count on receiving a quality education that will serve them well in the job market and beyond.

Learn more about UHV's online MBA programs.


All Business Schools: Business School Accreditation

Association to Advance Collegiate School of Business: Business Standards

Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges: Welcome from the President

U.S. Department of Education: Database of Accredited Postsecondary Institutions and Programs (DAPIP)

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