Business school accreditation

Business School Accreditation

Accreditation assures students, parents and the public that a school adheres to high quality standards based on the latest research and professional practice. An accredited school must continue to demonstrate during regular review cycles that it is developing and growing, not just maintaining existing standards.

Advantages to Attending an Accredited Business School

Qualify for Graduate School:
Schools will often only recognize credits earned at institutions holding the same level of accreditation. Graduates from programs at accredited institutions qualify to attend other accredited schools to pursue advanced studies, including MBA and doctoral programs.

Most AACSB-accredited schools will only recognize undergraduate credits as satisfying first-year MBA core course requirements if those undergraduate credits were awarded by other AACSB schools. Accreditation also affects transfer credits if you should relocate while in the progress of pursuing, for example, your MBA.

Qualify for Financial Aid:
Accreditation also creates a gateway for students to participate in federally funded and state financial aid programs. In order to receive federal funds, a school must be accredited by an accrediting body recognized by The U.S. Department of Education (DOE). All Business Schools only lists schools accredited by a DOE-recognized accrediting body.

Business School Accreditation Agencies
The most rigorous national business accreditation body is the AACSB International -- The Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business. It was organized in 1916 by a group of leading business schools, including Harvard, Columbia, Cornell, NYU, The Ohio State University, The University of Chicago, the University of Wisconsin - Madison and the University of Pennsylvania, among others.

The AACSB accredits top-tier universities that offer doctoral, masters and baccalaureate level business management and accounting degrees. AACSB accreditation is widely regarded as the highest level of accreditation for business schools, only 25% of U.S. business schools achieve AACSB accreditation. The AACSB's accreditation standards focus on excellence and continuous improvement.

The ACBSP accredits smaller private schools that offer associate's, baccalaureate and master's level business degrees. The ACBSP's accrediting standards place an emphasis on teaching and outcomes.

The Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA) recognizes the following regional accrediting agencies:
  • Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools
  • New England Association of Schools and Colleges
  • North Central Association of Colleges and Schools
  • Northwest Association of Schools and Colleges
  • Southern Association of Colleges and Schools
  • Western Association of Schools and Colleges
The Distance Education and Training Council (DETC) accredits online or distance learning programs that have been in existence for at least two years. Regional accrediting bodies accredit an entire college or university.

Different Levels of Accreditation
Most accreditation organizations use the same standards and criteria to accredit each program type; however, accreditation is granted for specific periods of time that differ between individual schools and programs. Check with the school or the accrediting body to determine the length of time for which the school is accredited.

Checking School Accreditation Status
AACSB-accredited programs are identified on by a clearly marked logo next to the school/program name.