Institutional accreditation reflects a voluntary decision made by the institution to conduct a self-evaluation of its academic operations from every vantage point to meet the standards of an accrediting agency. Because of the amount of rigor involved, many institutions either choose not to seek to meet these standards or they develop their own standards and the result may be labeled as “degree mills.” Graduates from those schools earn the paper, but not the product required by reputable employers.
Since accreditation is not required, graduates of institutions which have not met prescribed standards have a red flag that follows them as they seek their places in society. Some schools even follow agencies that are not accredited, hence the degree is still not what it proposes to be for lack of a core of standards. Without accreditation, the school has taken money without giving the student a standard-based education.
Accreditation approval demonstrates compliance with standards developed by an official agency. In the United States, there are six regional accreditation bodies (Regional Accreditation) and a host of nontraditional schools (such as beautician and barber schools, Bible colleges) with a specific focus (National Accreditation). Both accrediting bodies require the applying institutions to comply with standards approved by the U.S. Department of Education and therefore qualify for federal (Title IV) funds.
For institutions to receive these federal funds, the government recognizes the choice has been made to spend time, effort and finances to prove that the institutions have met the guidelines of an approved agency. Usually, they have affiliated themselves with a qualifying accrediting agency and become a candidate for accreditation and then have applied for and received the status of accreditation. They have completed these steps because they want to professionally prepare graduates of their institution to perform at a high level in their chosen field.
Many hours will be spent by all facets of the institution studying its operations from every aspect, including budget and its appropriate use, faculty, resources, curriculum, library, mission and mission-appropriate goals as well as administration and long-range and strategic planning. Assessment tools that determine the success of the institution are also vital.
Initial accreditation is only the first step. A team of professionals reflecting the areas of competencies sought will receive written documents from the institution certifying compliance with basic standards of the accrediting agency, assessment results and long- and short-range planning of the institution.
This is followed by a visit by these professionals to examine the actual operations of the institution. Reaccreditation follows at prescribed intervals to assure continued compliance with the standards of the accrediting agency.
Carolina College of Biblical Studies has chosen to meet the national standards of the Association for Biblical Higher Education for both its on-campus and online degree programs. CCBS completed a team visit for reaccreditation April 4-7. CCBS received six commendations, one for the online program, from the visiting team and some recommendations that it will address to complete the reaccreditation process.
The graduates of CCBS have been very successful and often continue to graduate schools such as Liberty University and Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary. They are also serving as pastors and planters of churches. Almost 90 percent of our graduates made CCBS their first choice to enroll in college. It is not unusual for our students to recruit others to attend the college.
The administration, faculty and staff of CCBS recognize, as do our students, that accreditation is the gold standard. The Association for Biblical Higher Education has set the standards as the accrediting agency, and CCBS has met those standards as we seek to disciple Christ-followers through biblical higher education, for a lifetime of effective servant leadership.