There are several agencies that accredit business programs. There are an estimated 2,400 business schools in the United States and over 5,500 in the world. Business programs determine which agency’s accreditation suits their missions and voluntarily undergo a process of meeting the necessary standards for accreditation by that agency.
One accrediting agency is the Association of Collegiate Business Schools and Programs (ACBSP), which accredits schools where teaching is the primary focus. As of fall 2007, it had accredited 398 business schools. Another accrediting agency is the International Assembly for Collegiate Business Education (IACBE), which accredits schools throughout the world that are described as student-centered colleges and universities. As of fall 2007, it had accredited 168 business schools. The final and most prestigious business accrediting agency is the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB) International, which was founded in 1916 by a consortium of schools that included Ivy League institutions. As of July 2007, it had accredited 551 schools worldwide, of which 457 were in the United States. Of these programs, 42 were undergraduate-only programs like the BSB degree at Mont Alto.
As prestigious as AACSB accreditation may be, it is not a requirement for admission of a business graduate into a graduate business program. Admission to graduate business study is determined primarily by the applicant’s undergraduate GPA, GMAT score, letters of recommendation, and performance on the essay portion of the application process.
Penn State University has several business programs, a number of which (Smeal, Behrend, Harrisburg, and Great Valley) are accredited by the AACSB. The BSB programs at Abington, Altoona, Berks, and the University College (which comprises 14 campuses of which Mont Alto is a part) are not. At this time, the University has determined that the University College BSB will not seek AACSB accreditation due partly to the prohibitive costs involved, and also because a Penn State degree is more nationally and internationally recognizable than degrees from many of the accredited schools. Furthermore Penn State graduates on average are more highly paid than graduates of other Pennsylvania Universities.
The more important accreditation issue from the perspective of the Mont Alto Campus is that Penn State University is regionally accredited by the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools. It is this regional accreditation that qualifies a school’s students for federal financial aid.
If you have further questions about accreditation, please address them to Dr. Francis Achampong, the Chief Academic Officer of the campus, and a former Dean of an AACSB-accredited business school.
- About the Business Baccalaureate Program