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Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs (ACBSP)

The Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs (ACBSP), previously known as the Association of Collegiate Business Schools and Programs, is an internationally recognized accreditation organization based in Overland Park, Kansas (just outside of Kansas City) in the United States. ACBSP was established in 1988 to meet the specialized accreditation needs of colleges and universities that offer business programs that focus on teachning and learning.

The ACBSP recently reported having more than 8,000 individual members and over 820 educational institution members, of which about 530 were accredited by the ACBSP and another 220 were in the process of accreditation. While most ACBSP members are located in the United States, over 130 are located in other countries.

A comprehensive directory of ACBSP accredited business schools and programs can be found on the ACBSP website at www.acbsp.org/page/main.

History

The Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs (ACBSP) was founded in 1988 to address the need for accreditation of business schools that emphasized teaching and learning. At that time, there were about 2,400 business schools in the U.S. alone, and of those only 260 were accredited, every single one by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB). Of the 260 AACSB accredited schools, nearly all were research oriented institutions, while most of the remaining non-accredited business schools–which represented the large majority of business schools nationwide–focused on teaching and learning. In April of 1988, over 150 of the non-accredited schools met to brainstorm an alternative accreditation standard and process for teaching-oriented business schools, other than that offered by the AACSB. From that meeting the Accreditaton Council for Business Schools and Programs was born. Specifically the ACBSP reviews the quality and integrity of business degree programs.

A year later, in May of 1989, a feasibility study was completed and standards for ACBSP accreditation were submitted for final review and approval. In 1992, the ACBSP was officially recognized by the U.S. Department of Education as U.S. agency and authorized to provide specialized accreditation for business education. However, just two years later, the United States Department of Education Advisory Committee submitted a recommendation that the ACBSP accreditation should no longer be recognized and should not be a "required element" in determining an institution's eligibility to qualify for U.S. federal government programs as set forth by the Higher Education Act. Notwithstanding the committee's recommendation, in 2001, the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA) Board of Directors awarded ACBSP full recognition and in 2011 the CHEA extended its recognition of ACBSP an authorized accrediting body for an additional 10 years.

Originally, the ACBSP was called the Association of Collegiate Business Schools and Programs but in 2010 its name was officially changed to the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs.

Employer Recognition

More and more employers are now requiring AACSB accredition for tuition reimbursement for employees attending business school. Just a few years ago, Intel instigated a corporate wide policy that it would only provide tuition reimbursement for its employees who attended ACBSP accredited business programs. At about the same time Intel also placed similar reimbursement restrictions for employees attending engineering programs. Intel later explained that the new reimbursement policy was put in place to make employee education programs more beneficial to the company, noting that in the past employees had been receiving tuition reimbursement for programs "that were not of the highest value to the company" or that did not help employees advance their careers with Intel.

Regional Councils

In order to accomodate its growing membership, ACBSP is divided into ten geographic regions. Each region has its own governing body composed of officers selected from ACBSP members within that region. Each ACBSP regional officer is newly elected each year. Every ACBSP member is automatically a member of the regional ACBSP organization that corresponds to the region where they reside. There are no annual membership dues for regional membership and all members are encouraged to attend events and meetings held by the ACBSP in their region. Regional meetings are held at various times throughout the year to provide educational and networking opportunities for members.

For more information about each ACBSP region or to learn more about activities within your region you can contact the ACBSP offices directly by phone at 1-913-339-9356.

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