Accreditation

Overview

Accreditation is a voluntary process by which an institution evaluates its educational activities and seeks an independent judgment to confirm that it is substantially achieving its objectives and is generally equal in quality to comparable institutions. An accredited institution, therefore, is deserving of public trust, having been judged by a recognized, authoritative third party as evidencing those characteristics indicative of quality and integrity. Moreover, it has been judged that these characteristics are present in sufficient strength to indicate that the college can be reasonably expected to continue to exhibit quality and integrity in the future. The accreditation process seeks not only to serve as a means by which to certify present quality and integrity, but to serve also as an impetus toward excellence.

The Process

Accreditation with CETA involves two or three stages depending upon the level of institutional readiness. Institutions may proceed either from applicant, to candidate, and finally to accredited status or from candidate to accredited status. The stages apply both to the accreditation of the institution as a whole, including all programmes currently offered or any specific individual programmes offered by the institution.

Applicant Status is granted to institutions that meet the Association’s Conditions of Eligibility and that possess qualities that provide a basis for achieving candidate status within four years. Applicant colleges are required to submit annual reports demonstrating progress toward candidate status. Within four years, institutional self-study materials that include a compliance document, an assessment plan and a planning document are submitted to the Association office prior to an evaluation team visit regarding the college’s readiness for candidate status.

Candidate Status is a pre-accredited status granted to colleges that show promise of achieving accreditation status within four years. Candidate colleges are required to submit annual progress reports demonstrating progress toward accreditation. Within four years, self-study materials are submitted to the Association office prior to an evaluation team visit regarding the college’s readiness for initial accreditation.

Accredited Status is granted to colleges that substantially meet or exceed the criteria of the Association and give evidence of continual striving toward excellence. During the fifth year of accredited status, self-study materials are submitted to the Association office prior to an evaluation team visit regarding the reaffirmation of the college’s accredited status. After this initial reaffirmation, the college repeats the reaffirmation process every ten years.

Conditions of Eligibility

The Accrediting Commission will grant applicant status to those colleges that (1) document compliance with the Association’s Conditions of Eligibility and (2) appear, in the commission’s judgment, to be able to achieve candidate status within four years. To be considered for applicant status by the committee, a college must provide the commission with the following:

  • An official statement from its chief executive officer reflecting a decision of its board of control to pursue accreditation,
  • Completed application form providing both essential data and a trend analysis of that data,
  • Official statement from the chief executive officer reflecting a board of control decision to affirm support of the CETA Tenets of Faith, and
  • Documentation indicating compliance with the following Conditions of Eligibility:

1. Authorization – The college must have authorization from the appropriate government agency (if required) to operate as an educational institution and to grant all degrees, certificates, and diplomas that it awards.

2. College Mission – The college must have a clear statement of mission as well as formally adopted and widely publicized institutional goals that are in accord with the Association’s definition of Bible college education.

3. Governance – The college must have an external governing board of at least five members that has the authority to carry out the mission, goals, and objectives of the institution.

4. Chief Executive Officer – The college must employ a chief executive officer whose major responsibility is to the institution and who possesses appropriate authority.

5. Academic Programs – The college must offer one or more educational programs that are at least two academic years in length and are consistent with the mission of the college and appropriate to higher education.

6. Catalog – The college must have available to students and the public a current and accurate catalog setting forth the college’s governance, mission, institutional goals, specific objectives, programs and courses, resources, admissions and standards, academic offering, rules and regulation for conduct, degree completion requirements, full- and part-time faculty rosters with faculty degrees, fees and other charges, refund policies, a policy defining satisfactory academic progress, graduation rates, rate of recent graduate employment in program related occupation, and other items related to attending, transferring to, or withdrawing from the institution. Claims regarding educational effectiveness must be supported by appropriate data.

7. Learning Resources – The college must have learning resources to support the courses, programs, and degrees offered.

8. Faculty Qualifications – The college must have at least one qualified faculty member for each major offered.

9. Admissions Policy – The college must have an admissions policy that is compatible with its stated objectives. 10. Student Body A college must have students enrolled in and pursuing its educational programs.

11. Biblical/Theological Studies – The college must meet, in all its programs, the minimum requirement for biblical/theological studies as specified in the Criteria for Accreditation.

12. General Studies – The college must meet, in all its programs, the minimum requirement for general studies as specified in the Criteria for Accreditation.

13. Christian Service Program – The college must require that students participate in a program of Christian service.

14. Program Completion – The college must have graduated at least one class in its principal program by the time of the committee’s decision regarding applicant status.

15. Institutional Stability – The college must have a pattern of stability in enrollment, administration, faculty, and finances.

16. Potential for Growth and Development – The college must possess the capacity for growth and development. 17. Financial Base A college must have a financial base indicating that the institution can achieve its mission and objectives within a balanced budget and at a safe level of debt.

18. Income Allocation – The college must devote substantially all of its generated income to the support of its educational purposes and programs.

19. Annual Audit – The college must have financial records that receive an annual, opinioned external audit.

20. Agency Disclosure – The college must agree to disclose to the Association any and all such information as it may require to carry out its evaluation and accreditation functions.

21. Compliance – The college must commit itself to comply with the Association’s Standards for Accreditation either current or as hereafter modified, during the period of its affiliation.

22. Public Disclosure – The college must attest in writing that it understands and agrees that the Association may, at its discretion, make known to any agency or member of the public the nature of any action, positive or negative, regarding the institution’s status with the Association.

A Bible college must demonstrate that it is substantially achieving and can be reasonably expected to continue to achieve its mission, to satisfactorily meet the Standards for Accreditation, and to demonstrate its commitment to ongoing institutional development.

Standards

1. Mission, Goals and Objectives

The institution has a clearly defined mission that is appropriate to higher education as well as its own specific educational role. The mission statement serves as the foundation for institutional operations, programs, and activities. Statements of the goals and program objectives specify how the institution will fulfill its mission.

2. Assessment and Planning

The institution demonstrates that it is accomplishing and can continue to accomplish its mission, goals and program objectives and improve performance through a regular and comprehensive system of assessment and planning.

3. Institutional Integrity

The institution demonstrates integrity in all of its practices and relationships, with strict adherence to ethical standards and its own stated policies. The institution is a model of Christian ethical behavior, both internally and externally.

4. Authority and Governance

The institution is legally constituted as a nonprofit organization authorized by government to operate as an educational institution and grant degrees and/or credentials. The institution has a governing board with legal and fiduciary responsibility to exercise appropriate oversight over institutional integrity, policies, resource development, and ongoing operations.

5. Administration

The institution has a core of administrators who bring together its various resources and allocates them to accomplish institutional goals by implementing institutional policies and structures in collaboration with appropriate constituencies.

6. Institutional Resources

The institution has the human, financial, physical and technological resources needed to achieve its mission and has implemented policies and procedures to manage these resources effectively.

7. Enrollment Management

The institution has developed and implemented an enrollment management plan that is consistent with its mission and addresses issues of recruitment, admissions, financial aid and retention.

8. Student Services

The institution provides services that contribute to the holistic development and care of students.

9. Faculty Resources

The institution maintains a faculty committed to its mission and qualified academically and spiritually to communicate content of their discipline within a biblical worldview. The institution fosters an academic climate that stimulates the exchange of ideas, encourages professional development and the well-being of faculty.

10. Learning Resources

The institution ensures the availability of learning resources of appropriate form, range, depth and currency to support the curricular offerings and meet student needs.

11. Academic Programs

The institution’s academic programs are appropriate to the achievement of its mission and to the level of educational programs offered, with some programs leading specifically to full-time vocational ministry but all programs enabling students to develop an integrated biblical worldview.

12. Assessment of Student Learning

As indicated in Standard 2, the institution has an overall plan to assess its effectiveness in achieving its mission. Central to this plan is the systematic and specific assessment of student learning and development through a strategy that measures the student’s knowledge, skills and competencies against institutional and programmatic goals.