The Accreditation Process
The ABHE process for Institutional Accreditation involves three (3) stages whereby institutions proceed from applicant to candidate and finally to accredited status.
Applicant Status is a pre-membership status granted to those institutions that meet the Association’s Conditions of Eligibility and that possess such qualities as might provide a basis for achieving candidate status within four (4) years. Applicant institutions are required to submit annual reports demonstrating progress toward candidate status. During year four, an institutional self-study report and an institutional planning document are to be submitted to the Association office prior to an evaluation team visit regarding the institutional readiness for candidate status.
Candidate Status is a pre-accredited status granted to those institutions that show promise of achieving accreditation within four (4) years. Candidate institutions are required to submit annual progress reports demonstrating progress toward accreditation. During year four, an institutional self-study report and an institutional planning document are to be submitted to the Association office prior to an evaluation team visit regarding the institution’s readiness for initial accreditation. Furthermore, the ethos of these institutions can still be described as academically respectable, evangelical, disciplined, and focused on spiritual and ministry formation.
Accredited status is granted to those institutions that substantially meet or exceed the Standards of the Association and give evidence of continual striving toward excellence. During year five, an institutional self-study report and an institutional planning document are to be submitted to the Association office prior to an evaluation team visit regarding the reaffirmation of the institution’s accredited status. Once reaffirmed, the institution will repeat the reaffirmation process every ten (10) years.
The ABHE Commission on Accreditation provides programmatic accreditation for institutions whose missions include programs outside the scope of biblical higher education. Nonetheless, these institutions offer specific programs that meet the requirements of biblical higher education and lead to credentials in biblical and theological studies as well as specific ministry related careers. Programmatic accreditation indicates that specific program offerings meet the standards of excellence in biblical higher education. A programmatic accreditation review requires that the institution offering the programs meet certain conditions of eligibility. In the United States, these conditions include a requirement that the institution holds institutional accreditation with a recognized accrediting body. In Canada, the institution must present evidence of appropriate governmental approval, prior institutional accreditation with ABHE, or a formal affiliation with a recognized Canadian University. Institutions seeking programmatic accreditation must demonstrate that the programs to be considered are included in the institution’s assessment and planning processes. They must also present documentation that the programs are in compliance with the ABHE programmatic accreditation standards. Programmatic accreditation is granted for a period of ten years. While the Commission monitors the programs offered on an annual basis, programs are subject to the renewal of accreditation on a ten year cycle.