American Bible College Accreditation
American Bible College Accreditation
Serving Private Theological Institutions
Who We Are
American Bible College Accreditation is a distinguished non-profit international accrediting agency deeply rooted in faith and committed to the relentless pursuit of academic excellence. We collaborate with a diverse array of educational institutions, including independent Christian colleges, seminaries, theological institutes, universities, as well as online and distance learning platforms. Our inclusive approach values diversity and operates without any form of discrimination, ensuring equal opportunities for all, regardless of race, color, or national origin in all our programs.
As a charitable entity incorporated in the State of Florida, our fundamental mission revolves around the establishment, support, maintenance, and promotion of both traditional and innovative educational methods. We focus on nurturing the growth of traditional and non-traditional online and onsite Bible Schools, alongside other advanced distance learning techniques conducted off-campus.
Accreditation through American Bible College Accreditation stands as a testament to unwavering commitment and exceptional standards. Our rigorous accreditation process upholds the highest levels of teaching and curriculum quality, setting us apart from entities merely seeking to churn out accreditations. We are steadfast in our dedication to maintaining the utmost academic, technical, and overall excellence in all accredited institutions.
A hallmark of our accreditation is the mutual recognition among our member institutions. Every accredited member is not only bound by shared values but also obligated to acknowledge and accept the credits, certificates, diplomas, and degrees issued by fellow member institutions. This mutual recognition guarantees students the confidence of seamless credit, diploma, and degree transferability, promoting a strong sense of assurance and credibility within our accredited community.
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
In our commitment to inclusivity, we go beyond mere accreditation. We actively engage with Christian schools and colleges, offering ongoing support and resources to facilitate their growth and development. Our aim is to foster a community of learning where institutions, regardless of size or financial constraints, have access to invaluable expertise and mentorship.
Through workshops, seminars, and collaborative initiatives, we provide a platform for educators to share best practices, innovative teaching methods, and spiritual guidance. By encouraging a culture of continuous improvement, we empower schools to evolve dynamically, ensuring that they remain at the forefront of educational and spiritual advancement.
Moreover, we understand the challenges faced by educational institutions in the rapidly changing landscape of technology. To address this, we offer specialized guidance on integrating digital tools and online platforms into traditional teaching methods. This support not only enhances the learning experience but also equips schools to adapt to the evolving needs of their students.
We recognize that many smaller schools and colleges often face exclusion due to the financial commitments demanded by accreditation associations. Our mission is to level the playing field, granting every educational institution the opportunity to attain accreditation. We firmly believe that it’s possible for all schools and colleges to earn accreditation without compromising the high standards of excellence we uphold for each and every one of them.
What We Mean
Accreditation is a collective endeavor where educational institutions willingly commit to adhering to a predefined set of standards, fostering a culture of quality education and continuous improvement. It constitutes the formal certification that an educational institution upholds and sustains appropriate standards of excellence. While schools are not mandated by law to seek accreditation, it is highly sought after and holds immense value in the educational realm.
When a school achieves accredited status, it signifies that the institution has willingly subjected itself to a thorough and comprehensive evaluation. This evaluation assesses various facets of the school’s operation, ensuring that it consistently meets and exceeds established benchmarks. Accreditation, therefore, acts as a testament to the school’s dedication to maintaining a high level of performance and providing students with an enriching and impactful learning experience.
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
- Licensing Documentation:
- Provide comprehensive documentation of State Licensing or obtain a State letter of religious exemption from licensing. This ensures compliance with relevant regulations and requirements.
- Religious Degree Focus:
- Clearly articulate and demonstrate that the institution offers only religious degrees specifically designed for Christian ministry. This specialization should be evident in the curriculum, faculty expertise, and overall educational offerings.
- Chief Executive Officer:
- Employ a Chief Executive Officer (CEO) who is dedicated to the institution and possesses the necessary authority to make decisions affecting the organization. The CEO plays a crucial role in steering the institution in alignment with its mission and objectives.
- Organizational Structure:
- Ensure that the organizational structure and charter of the institution are designed to effectively support and fulfill the stated purpose and goals of the educational institution. This involves having adequate personnel in key roles to facilitate smooth operations.
- Compliance with State Statutes:
- Verify that the organization’s structure and operation align with relevant state statutes. This includes adhering to legal requirements, regulations, and guidelines set forth by the state in which the institution operates. This ensures legal compliance and upholds the institution’s credibility.
By addressing these elements comprehensively, the organization establishes a strong foundation for authorization, ensuring that it operates within legal and regulatory frameworks while maintaining a clear focus on its religious and educational mission.
STEP 2 : CATALOG & CURRICULUM
The organization must ensure the availability of a comprehensive catalog to students and the public. This catalog should include the following:
- Governance and mission of the institution
- Student policies
- Financial policies, including refund policies
- Faculty policies, distributed in writing to each faculty member
- Administrative policies complying with state laws
- Admission and personnel policies aligned with federal anti-discrimination statutes
- Institutional goals and 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
- Other relevant items related to attending, transferring to, or withdrawing from the institution
- Degree requirements must align 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’s accreditation status must be clearly stated
STEP 3 : FACULTY QUALIFICATIONS
This step emphasizes the importance of having a qualified academic team and maintaining an appropriate Faculty/Student ratio. Here are more details:
- Qualified Academic Leadership:
- The organization is required to have qualified academic leadership at the helm. This includes individuals who possess the necessary qualifications and expertise to lead the educational institution effectively. The leadership team plays a crucial role in shaping the academic direction of the institution.
- A detailed list of faculty members, including comprehensive information on their earned degrees, is expected. This transparency ensures that the academic staff has the necessary qualifications to contribute effectively to the educational mission.
- Faculty/Student Ratio:
- The Faculty/Student ratio is a critical factor in ensuring a realistic workload for faculty members. This ratio should be carefully maintained to guarantee that faculty members can provide adequate attention and guidance to each student.
- Teachers are generally expected to hold a baccalaureate degree. In cases where this requirement is not met, educators should be actively following an educational plan to attain the degree within a specified timeframe. Any exceptions to this standard must be formally documented and presented in writing.
By adhering to these guidelines, the organization ensures not only the academic strength of its faculty but also a supportive and conducive learning environment for students. It reflects a commitment to maintaining high educational standards and fostering a culture of continuous improvement within the institution.
STEP 4 : ACADEMIC PROGRAMS
In this stage, adherence to the American Bible College Accreditation definition of a credit hour is crucial for making academic judgments regarding courses and degree programs. The definition aligns with the Carnegie Unit, specifying “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.”
To demonstrate compliance, the institution is required to provide copies of course syllabi that meticulously outline the anticipated amount of work associated with each credit hour. This ensures transparency and consistency in evaluating academic programs and credits.
STEP 5 : INSTITUTIONAL STABILITY AND VIABILITY
This step focuses on ensuring the stability and viability of the institution:
- Active Student Enrollment:
- The organization is required to have students actively enrolled and pursuing educational programs. This ensures ongoing engagement with its academic offerings.
- Evidence of Compliance:
- Compliance is demonstrated by providing evidence in the form of a notarized affidavit. This affidavit, signed by the institution’s Chief Executive Officer, must state the number of active students, affirming the institution’s commitment to its educational mission.
- Record Maintenance:
- The organization is expected to maintain records and transcripts for the entire duration of its existence. Provisions must be in place to address record-keeping if the institution ceases to operate.
- Library Facilities:
- If the institution operates as a school, its library should meet the needs of the student body. Alternatively, arrangements should be made for students to access a local library to support their educational requirements.
- Adequate Facilities:
- Facilities must be sufficient to accommodate the student body and should comply with all county and state health and safety requirements. This ensures a conducive and secure learning environment for all students.
By addressing these criteria, the organization ensures its ongoing stability, the provision of necessary resources, and compliance with essential regulatory standards for the benefit of the student body.
The American Bible College Accreditation is not acknowledged by the U.S. Department of Education. However, it’s important to note that government-recognized accreditation is not deemed necessary for the religious vocations our institution specializes in. These include:
- Biblical Studies
- Christian Arts
- Christian Counseling
- Christian Entrepreneurship
- Christian Leadership
- Divine Healing
- Intercessory Prayer
- Missions and Evangelism
- Pastoral Ministry
- Prophetic Ministry
- Worship Ministry
- Youth Ministry
Individuals pursuing careers in these fields can function and hold positions without the need for government-recognized accreditation.
However, it is important to highlight that individuals seeking employment in government-licensed positions, such as public school teachers, state-licensed psychologists or psychiatrists, and non-church-related counselors, may require degrees from institutions with government-recognized accreditation.
In the context of ministry positions, government-accredited degrees are generally not a requisite. In fact, some churches choose to refrain from voluntarily subjecting themselves to government regulations, taking a stand in this regard.
Accredited Status Explanation
Accredited Institution Definition: An accredited institution is one that has demonstrated substantial compliance with the rigorous standards set forth by the American Bible College Accreditation. This recognition signifies that the institution has undergone a comprehensive evaluation, covering various aspects such as academic programs, faculty qualifications, facilities, and adherence to ethical and professional standards.
Award of Accreditation Certificate: The accredited status is not merely a designation but a formal acknowledgment of the institution’s commitment to maintaining high-quality educational standards. Upon meeting the stringent criteria, the institution is presented with an accreditation certificate, attesting to its dedication to excellence in education.
Continuous Commitment to Standards: Attaining accredited status is a testament to the institution’s ongoing commitment to maintaining and improving educational quality. It reflects a dedication to providing students with a well-rounded and rigorous academic experience, aligned with industry and professional standards.
Credibility and Recognition: For students, employers, and the broader academic community, accredited status serves as a mark of credibility and quality assurance. It provides assurance that the institution adheres to recognized standards, ensuring that the education imparted is of high caliber and meets established benchmarks.
Ongoing Evaluation and Improvement: Accredited status is not a one-time achievement but an ongoing commitment. Institutions are typically subject to periodic reviews to ensure they continue to uphold the standards that led to their accreditation. This process fosters a culture of continuous improvement, benefiting both the institution and its students.
In summary, being accredited goes beyond a simple label—it is a validation of an institution’s dedication to excellence, adherence to standards, and commitment to providing a reputable and valuable educational experience.
SEPARATION OF CHURCH AND STATE
In the realm of education, a distinct line is drawn between secular and religious pursuits. Secular schools seek accreditation from secular institutions, while sacred schools seek recognition within their religious communities. Religious institutions generally do not require secular accreditation unless they offer degrees with secular implications that necessitate government oversight.
Secular accreditation associations derive their recognition from governmental agencies, often tracing their authority back to the capital of a country, such as Washington, D.C. In contrast, religious accrediting associations find their recognition within the Church of our Lord Jesus Christ, an entity with no supreme central office on earth, drawing its authority directly from Heaven.
However, due to the prevalence of questionable practices leading to the establishment of “diploma mills” and “accreditation mills,” reputable theological institutions may find it prudent to seek reputable accreditation. While civil and religious interests have separate realms of jurisdiction, the State is not inherently superior to the Church. The Church need not await approval from the secular world, and civil agencies should refrain from dictating standards of Christian education, just as a police officer should not direct the worship of God.
Theological Seminaries, guided by the biblical principle of the “Separation of Church and State,” should avoid seeking accreditation from associations recognized by federal agencies. This principle is 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).
Christian educators, in adherence to II Cor. 6:14, should refrain from seeking recognition from the world of unbelievers, for what fellowship does righteousness have with unrighteousness? Federal or State accreditation of a Bible school is a concept without validity, as civil government lacks the authority to regulate religious training or the certificates issued for it. This is a matter of upholding the principle of the separation of church and state.
While civil authorities should never officially endorse or disapprove directly, there are instances where some may dismiss a Christian school and reject its accrediting, indirectly reflecting a rejection of the beliefs and practices of churches or their Bible schools.
Upon the successful attainment of full accreditation with American Bible College Accreditation, a significant milestone will be marked by the presentation of a distinguished Certificate of Accreditation. This certificate is not merely a document; it’s a symbol of achievement meant to be prominently showcased within the halls of your educational institution.
Beyond its visual representation, the Certificate of Accreditation carries profound significance. It serves as an official acknowledgment that your school has achieved and is currently maintaining excellent standing. More than that, it signifies that your institution is recognized as a dependable Christian School committed to imparting the comprehensive Gospel of Jesus Christ.
This certificate is a tangible testament to the thorough evaluation conducted by American Bible College Accreditation, a revered Christian Accrediting Organization. The document affirms that your school has been rigorously assessed and acknowledged as a legitimate and esteemed establishment dedicated to the provision of high-quality education.
As you proudly display this certificate, it communicates to students, faculty, and the wider community that your institution is not just an educational entity but a trusted and reputable center for Christian education. It embodies the commitment to excellence upheld by American Bible College Accreditation and the enduring pursuit of imparting knowledge rooted in the principles of the Gospel.
As part of the ongoing commitment to maintaining accreditation standards, American Bible College Accreditation will uphold a confidential file dedicated to your school. This comprehensive file will encompass various elements, including your initial application, records of onsite visits, evaluations, reports, and all legal documentation pertinent to your school’s operation.
Reporting Responsibility: To ensure transparency and ongoing assessment, your school is entrusted with the responsibility of submitting both quarterly and annual reports. These reports serve as crucial updates on your school’s activities, progress, and adherence to the established standards.
Probationary Measures: In the event that a school encounters challenges in maintaining the rigorous standards set by American Bible College Accreditation, a probationary status may be implemented. This temporary status serves as an opportunity for the school to address identified deficiencies and work towards full compliance.
Collaborative Improvement: While on probation, the accrediting body encourages collaborative efforts between the school and American Bible College Accreditation to rectify any shortcomings. This period emphasizes a supportive and constructive approach to assist the school in meeting and exceeding accreditation standards.
Continuous Commitment to Excellence: The annual renewal process underscores the commitment to continuous improvement and excellence in education. It reflects the accrediting body’s dedication to supporting schools in their pursuit of high-quality Christian education.
By actively participating in the annual renewal process, your school not only demonstrates accountability but also contributes to the overarching goal of maintaining and enhancing the standards upheld by American Bible College Accreditation.
FEES AND MEMBERSHIP DETAILS
Application Fees: To initiate the accreditation process, a nominal application fee of $150 is required at the time of submitting your application.
Annual Membership and Accreditation Fees: Annual membership with the American Bible College Accreditation is priced at $400 per institution. Institutions operating at multiple locations are encouraged to register each additional site with the accreditation body. The registration fee for each extra location is $400.
- Refund Policy: In the event that a school’s membership application is not approved, the $150 membership fee will be promptly refunded.
- Renewal Reminder: As part of the annual renewal process, institutions are reminded to allocate funds for the $400 annual membership and accreditation fees. This ensures the continuation of accreditation benefits and ongoing support from the American Bible College Accreditation.
These fees play a crucial role in sustaining accreditation standards, facilitating the creation of newsletters, organizing workshops, offering free courses, and providing valuable services to member institutions.
Your dedication to this process is essential for maintaining the quality and integrity of Christian education within the accredited network.
ANNUAL RENEWAL FEE
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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