American Bible College Accreditation
American Bible College Accreditation
Serving Private Theological Institutions
Who We Are
American Bible College Accreditation is a faith based non-profit international accrediting agency of independent Christian colleges and seminaries committed to academic excellence. We serve private theological institutions such as Bible colleges, theological institutes, seminaries and universities as well as online and distant learning institutions. American Bible College Accreditation does not discriminate on basis of race, color, or national origin in any of its programs.
We are incorporated as a charitable corporation in the State of Florida to help establish, support, maintain, and promote the development of non-traditional, modular, and private tutoring/mentoring methods on-campus, and audio/video-taped, on-line, and other distance learning methods off-campus.
Accreditation by American Bible College Accreditation requires all applicants to meet our very high standards in all areas of teaching and curriculum. We are not an accreditation mill. Accredited status is earned through academic, technical, and overall excellence.
All members of the American Bible College Accreditation are required to accept at face value the credits, certificates, diplomas and degrees issued by other member institutions. This affords students the assurance of transferability of credits, diplomas and degrees earned from other member institutions.
MISSION AND PHILOSOPHY
What We Do
- To unite Christian schools and colleges to find strength in number.
- To empower schools and colleges and educational professionals to be able to better meet student’s needs.
- To promote excellence in Christian Education.
- To provide services that enable Christian schools, colleges, and educational professionals.
- To provide a network which strengthens those who are a part.
- To incorporate together the strong points of each organization to form a stronger union by allowing each to contribute.
- To lift up Christian Bible centered standards in education and to guide schools and colleges in keeping these standards in excellence
The purpose of the Accreditation Program is to establish standards of excellence in both educational and spiritual avenues. Accreditation never has and never will assure quality in any school. It will, however, cause a Christian school to self-evaluate its educational process and to receive counsel from experienced Christian educators. The accreditation process will also help a Christian school identify its programs weaknesses and offer suggestions on how these areas can be strengthened. In this way, accreditation should assist a Christian school in improving the quality of its educational program. All too often the smaller schools and colleges are left out due to the financial commitment that many accreditation associations require. It is our desire to “even the field”, to allow all schools and colleges the opportunity to become accredited. We believe that we have found a way for all to be able to earn accreditation without compromising in the standards of excellence for all.
What We Mean
Accreditation is a group process by which schools voluntarily agree to participate in a set of established standards in order to encourage quality education.
It is the act of certifying that an educational institution maintains suitable standards. Schools are not legally required to become accredited, but it is a very desirable standing. Accredited status means a school has voluntarily undergone a comprehensive examination to determine that it operates at a worthy level of performance.
5 STEPS TO ACCREDITATION
American Bible College Accreditation will grant accredited status to those organizations that provide documentation of compliance with the following conditions of eligibility:
Step 1 : AUTHORIZATION
The organization must demonstrate compliance by providing documentation of State Licensing or a State letter of religious exemption from licensing.
The organization must demonstrates compliance by stating that it offers only religious degrees for Christian ministry.
The organization must employ a chief executive officer whose major responsibility is to the institution and who possesses appropriate authority.
The organizational structure and charter must reflect adequate personnel to accomplish the stated purpose and goals of the educational institution.
The organization and operation of the educational facility is in accord with appropriate state statutes.
STEP 2 : CATALOG & CURRICULUM
The organization must have available to students and the public a current and accurate catalog setting forth the institution’s governance, mission, Student policies, Financial policies, including refund policies, faculty policies must be stated in writing and distributed to each faculty member, Administrative policies are in accordance with state laws, Admission and personnel policies are in accordance with federal anti-discrimination statues, institutional goals, specific objectives, academic program requirements and courses, learning and educational resources, admissions policies and standards, rules and regulations for conduct, full- and part-time faculty rosters with faculty degrees, fees and other charges, refund policies, a policy defining satisfactory academic progress, and other items related to attending, transferring to, or withdrawing from the institution. Degree requirements must be in keeping with generally accepted standards. The institution must maintain an annually updated list of courses offered. Students must receive a copy of their degree plan. The organization accreditation status must be clearly stated.
STEP 3 : FACULTY QUALIFICATIONS
The organization must have qualified academic leadership and provide a list of members of its faculty with information on earned degrees.
The Faculty/Student ratio reflects realistic workload. Teachers must have a baccalaureate degree, or must have and follow an educational plan in which they will achieve one within a given amount of time. If there are exceptions, these must be presented in writing to us
STEP 4 : ACADEMIC PROGRAMS
The organization must use American Bible College Accreditation definition of credit hour as their starting point for making academic judgments about the amount of credits associated with courses and degree programs. American Bible College Accreditation definition of a credit hour is consistent with the Carnegie Unit (“one hour of classroom or direct faculty instruction and a minimum of two hours of out of class student work each week for approximately 15 weeks for one semester or trimester hour of credit, or ten to twelve weeks for one quarter hour of credit, or the equivalent amount of work over a different amount of time”). An institution demonstrates compliance by providing copies of courses syllabi detailing the expected amount of work for a credit hour.
STEP 5 : INSTITUTIONAL STABILITY AND VIABILITY
The organization must have students enrolled in and pursuing its educational programs.
The organization demonstrates compliance by providing evidence in the form of a notarized affidavit signed by the institution’s Chief Executive Officer stating the number of active students.
The organization records and transcripts must be kept for the life of the institution and provisions made if the institution no longer continues.
If the institute is a school, the library must meet the needs of the student body, or provisions are made for the students to visit the local library.
Facilities must be adequate for the student body and they meet all county and state health and safety requirements.
The American Bible College Accreditation is not recognized by the U.S. Department of Education. Government recognized accreditation is not necessary for the religious vocations we are training people in, which include: Biblical Studies, Christian Arts, Christian Counseling, Christian Entrepreneurship, Christian Leadership, Divine Healing, Divinity, Intercessory Prayer, Ministry, Missions and Evangelism, Pastoral Ministry, Prophetic Ministry, Theology, Worship Ministry, and Youth Ministry. People can function and hold jobs in all of these professions without government-recognized accreditation.
Individuals seeking employment in government-licensed positions such as public school teachers, state-licensed psychologists or psychiatrists, and non-church-related counselors definitely need government-recognized accredited degrees. Generally, people working in ministry positions do not need a government-accredited degree. In fact, a number of churches take a stand against the Church voluntarily placing itself under government regulations.
An Accredited institution is one that has satisfactorily met all American Bible College Accreditation standards and has been awarded their accreditation certificate.
SEPARATION OF CHURCH AND STATE
There is secular education and there is religious education. Secular schools seek secular education, and sacred schools receive sacred accreditation each by their own peers. Religious institutions need no secular accreditation unless they offer secular degrees and are required to have such government oversight in order to grant their degrees.
Secular accreditation associations in turn are recognized by governmental agencies. They trace their authority back to the capitol of a country, like Washington, D.C.
Religious accrediting associations are recognized by the Church of our Lord Jesus Christ, which has no supreme central office on earth. Our authority is derived directly from Heaven. However, because of unscrupulous practices resulting in “diploma mills” and “accreditation mills”, reputable theological institutions would be wise to obtain reputable accreditation.
Civil and religious interests are different and have separate realms of jurisdiction. The State is not superior to the Church. The Church need not wait for approval from the secular world. Civil agencies should not be dictating standards of Christian education; any more than a police officer should be directing the worship of God.
Theological Seminaries should not be accredited by accrediting associations that are “recognized” by an agency of the federal government, because it is contrary to the Biblical principle of “Separation of Church and State,” indicated by Christ when He said, “…Render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s…” (Mark 12:17).
What business does a Christian educator have in going to the world of unbelievers for recognition and acknowledgement when II Cor. 6:14 clearly tells us, “Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers; for what fellowship does righteousness have with unrighteousness?”
There is no such thing as Federal or State accreditation of a Bible school, for civil government has no authority to regulate religious training or what certificates we issue for it. This is an issue of separation of church and state.
Civil authorities must never officially endorse or disapprove directly. On the other hand, there are some who discount a Christian school and reject their accrediting or indirectly the beliefs and practices of churches or their Bible schools.
Once your school is fully accredited with American Bible College Accreditation, you will receive a Certificate of Accreditation to be displayed in your school.
The Certificate certifies that your school is in good standing and recognized as a reliable Christian School that is committed to teaching the full Gospel of Jesus Christ. It will show that American Bible College Accreditation, a Christian Accrediting Organization has judged your school as a legitimate and worthy school that offers quality teaching.
American Bible College Accreditation will keep a confidential file on your school containing your application, onsite visits, evaluations, reports, and all legal documentation pertaining to your school. You will be responsible for sending in quarterly and annual reports. Any school that fails to maintain the standards of American Bible College Accreditation will be placed on probation until such deficiencies have been rectified.
Application Fees: $100 due upon submission of application.
Annual membership and accreditation fees: $150
Annual membership in the American Bible College Accreditation is $150.00 per institution. Institutions having more than one location are required to register additional locations with the American Bible College Accreditation. The registration fee for additional locations is $150.00 per location.
Note: if school is not approved for membership, the $150 membership fee will be returned.
Frequently Asked Questions
Are Bible colleges, seminaries, institutes or universities normally required by law to be accredited?
No! It is voluntary and not mandatory.
Why do some schools prefer to be accredited?
For many reasons:
- Some desire to take advantage of federal aid programs, etc.
- Others for the reason of credibility.
- Still others for the hope of transferring their credits to other schools. No matter what school one attends, there is no ironclad guarantee that all credits will be transferred to another school. It is entirely up to the individual school as to whether or not they will accept any part or all of credits earned from another school.
- Secular schools that are required to be licensed may or may not be required to be regionally accredited, depending upon the requirements of each state. Most educational authorities claim that accreditation is entirely a voluntary process.
- It is the school that is accredited, not the degree. The degrees come from an accredited school (if it is accredited).
If a school is regionally accredited or has any other type of accreditation does that guarantee credit transfer to other schools?
No! A direct quote from a letter from the U.S. Dept of Education reveals “…accreditation – by a regional accrediting agency or any other accrediting agency does not provide automatic acceptance by an institution of credits earned at another institution…”.
In the U.S. are accrediting associations or agencies a governmental agency?
No! Accrediting associations or agencies are non-governmental. All are private organizations, which set criteria for schools that wish to be accredited.
Are all accrediting associations or agencies required to be recognized by the U.S. Department of Education and/or the Council on Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA)?
No! A direct quote from a letter from the U.S. Dept of Education reveals “No accrediting agency needs the Secretary’s recognition in order to function as an accrediting agency…so too no accrediting agency needs the Secretary’s recognition in order to operate, so too no agency needs recognition by the Council on Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA), the successor to CORPA, to operate”.
Do accrediting associations or agencies give schools the authority to offer degrees?
No! States control education (according to state statutes) and give schools authority to grant degrees through licensing or exempting them. In most states, Bible colleges, seminaries, Bible institutes & universities operate under this exempt status. However most of the time it is not an automatic status. Each school should seek legal advice and contact the appropriate state agency that gives a letter of exemption before offering degrees. Offering degrees without a license or exemption from license may be illegal in some states.
Why is there so much confusion about accreditation?
God is not the author of confusion! Even if you have read all available information on accreditation it would still have been confusing. To simplify: Some accrediting associations or agencies are recognized by the U.S. Department of Education (Federal agency) and/or the Council on Higher Education Accreditation (non-Governmental Coordinating agency). Those schools recognized by those organizations qualify for the federal aid programs. This type of recognition, in many cases, is needed in order to qualify for certain state licenses, certifications, military chaplaincies, and many other secular oriented positions. However, employment or credit transfer is not absolutely guaranteed even with this type of recognition.
What is the purpose of private, non-secular Christian accrediting associations or agencies?
- They were established to provide an alternative accreditation, which does not seek secular educational standards, philosophies or approval. They are not required to be recognized by the U.S. Department of Education or the Council on Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA), nor do they wish to be recognized.
- They provide and set educational standards to promote quality education among Bible colleges, seminaries, universities, and institutes, etc.
- They promote and encourage the transfer of credits among the schools accredited by their organization.
- They seek unity and fellowship among post secondary Christian institutions.
Originated and ©Copyrighted by Dr. Cecil Johnson 1998. ABCA accredited schools have permission to duplicate and distribute this information or pace it in their catalog.
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