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 you more competitive in the job market as some employers will only accept degrees from a regionally accredited institution when considering promotions or salary.
Business School Accreditation Agencies
The following organizations grant accreditation to institutions of higher learning located anywhere in the United States and abroad:
- AACSB: The Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB International) 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.
- ACBSP: The Association of Collegiate Business Schools and Programs (ACBSP) 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.
- CHEA: The Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA) is a non-governmental association of 3,000 degree-granting colleges and universities dedicated to maintaining academic quality through accreditation. The CHEA recognizes 60 institutional and program-specific accrediting organizations, such as the AACSB, ACBSP and DETC, as well as the regional accrediting bodies listed below.
- DETC: The Distance Education and Training Council (DETC) grants program-specific accreditation to online or distance learning programs that have been in existence for at least two years.
The following organizations grant accreditation to institutions based on their geographic region in the U.S.
Checking Business School Accreditation Status
The best way to determine an institution's accreditation status is to visit the website of the national or regional accrediting organization. Most organizations keep current lists of institutions granted accreditation by their agency.