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What Is AACSB Accreditation?

AACSB accreditation is given to business and accounting schools. According to AACSB.edu, the organization’s accrediting function began in 1919, and the group views rigorous accreditation as one of the best methods to improve the quality of business schools in the United States. The AACSB has continued to revise its accreditation standards to respond to changes in the business world and the evolving needs of students pursuing a management education. The AACSB is recognized by the U.S. Department of Education and the Council for Higher Education Accreditation and has a reputation worldwide as a standard-bearer for the accreditation of business programs. The AACSB evaluates schools according to a set of distinct standards including the institution’s mission, academic programs and faculty qualifications and contributions to the field.

How It Works

To become accredited by the AACSB, a school must be a member institution of the AACSB and offer degree-granting programs in business or accounting. If a school is a member and would like to apply for review, it must submit an application for accreditation. The AACSB evaluates the application and determines whether a school has the potential to receive accreditation. The most current AACSB International accreditation standards were published in the Eligibility Procedures and Accreditation Standards for Business Accreditation, adopted by the AASCB on April 25, 2003, and revised as recently as Jan. 31, 2011.

If it is determined that a program’s overall educational experience has the potential to reflect the standards of quality required for AACSB accreditation, the school will begin the process of evaluation. According to AACSB.edu, the school will work with mentors, committees and AACSB staffers to create a Standards Alignment Plan. Once it meets its alignment plan and about two years before its on-site review, the school is assigned a Peer Review Team chief. The chief works with school administrators to craft a schedule for the evaluation visit and directs the school in developing a Self-Evaluation Report. In the self-evaluation process, the school prepares a detailed review of its academic program and outlines how it compares to AACSB standards. The peer review team will assess the Self-Evaluation Report before visiting the school for the on-site evaluation. After the Peer Review Team visits the school, it will develop a report to recommend accreditation, deferral or no accreditation. Review committees and the AACSB board of directors make the final decision about accreditation.

The AACSB reviews accreditation every five years to make sure that schools are upholding the same standards of quality that were in place during the original review. The primary responsibilities include maintaining educational achievements, accurately and appropriately representing AACSB International accreditation, participating in the AACSB International accreditation review process, and representing degree and non-degree programs accurately and with integrity. An institution must apply on its own for accreditation review if it has made substantive changes to its degree programs or institutional goals. Students and other members of the academic community have the right to report possible infractions to the AACSB.