Frequently Asked Questions About SBI and Accreditation
Is SBI accredited?
No, Southern Bible Institute is not accredited, but SBI is actively pursuing the accreditation process with the Association for Biblical Higher Education (ABHE). However, SBI currently holds “Affiliate” status with ABHE. As such, SBI participates in and contributes to collegial and professional development activities of the Association. Affiliate status does not, however, constitute, imply, or presume ABHE accredited status at present or in the future. As an affiliated school with the Association for Biblical Higher Education, SBI is listed on the association’s directory: http://www.abhe.org/pages/NAV-Directory.html
Who is ABHE and why did SBI choose ABHE?
ABHE is a North American higher education association officially approved by the U.S. Department of Education and is an officially recognized “faith based” accrediting association by CHEA (Council for Higher Education Accreditation, http://www.chea.org/pdf/CHEA_USDE_AllAccred.pdf). For more information about ABHE visit their website at www.abhe.org. You can also contact ABHE at: Association for Biblical Higher Education, 5850 T. G. Lee Blvd., Orlando, FL 32822; telephone, 407.207.0808; web, www.abhe.org.
SBI chose ABHE because we believe this accrediting association provides the best choice for helping us grow institutionally and advance high academic standards, while also carrying out our bible-centered curriculum and institutional mission statement which is “to equip men and women to be competent servant leaders with a Bible centered worldview.” Our well known branding also affirms this decision by our Board of Directors and members of the SBI educational community: “Timeless servant leadership rooted in God’s authoritative Word.”
Where is SBI in the accreditation process?
ABHE states: “Accreditation is a process by which an institution evaluates its educational activities, in whole or in part, and seeks an independent judgment to confirm that it achieves its mission and goals and is generally equal in quality to comparable institutions or specialized units." More information is available at: http://www.abhe.org/pages/NAV-aboutAccreditation.html.”
After being accepted as an ABHE “Affiliate” in of September, 2011, Southern Bible Institute began documenting its compliance with the Association’s “Conditions of Eligibility” for “Applicant” status, the next step in the process. There are twenty-one conditions of eligibility. These can be viewed at: http://www.abhe.org/pages/accreditation/NAV-Conditions.html).
December 1, 2012 marks another milestone. SBI has submitted its application with accompanying documentation to show its level of compliance with the twenty-two Conditions of Eligibility in order to receive “Applicant” status. If approved, SBI’s next step is to begin a more rigorous assessment of the whole institution and submit responses with documentation justifying that SBI be granted Candidate status. Again, if SBI is approved, this next leads to Initial Accreditation—the goal aligned with the reason we chose ABHE, “helping us grow institutionally and advance high academic standards, while also carrying out our bible-centered curriculum and institutional mission statement as a school accredited by a USDE/CHEA recognized association.
What about attending an unaccredited school?
SBI has educated students for 86 years. Its mission has not wavered and with over eight decades in continuous operation—this speaks well about the institute’s longevity and respectability in the Dallas/Fort Worth community.
What about admission into Graduate School? It should be kept in mind that admission decisions are completely up to the staff and policies of the school to which a student applies. SBI graduates have been accepted into graduate programs at major bible-centered colleges, seminaries and universities, who maintain faith-based accreditation status with associations like ABHE and ATS (Association of Theological Schools), and may also maintain regional accreditation status with associations like SACS (Southern Association Colleges and Schools).
SBI student course work credit has likewise been accepted for transfer credit by these institutions. Some of these institutions include Dallas Baptist University, Criswell College, and Dallas Theological Seminary.
Does SBI accept financial aid through FAFSA, student loans or GI Bill?
Veterans are welcome to use their GI Bill educational benefits at SBI. SBI has very affordable tuition when compared to many other higher education programs. SBI’s own financial aid system assists students in obeying God’s leadership preparation in school. SBI’s many generous donors makes this possible. SBI does not participate in FAFSA or receive federal financial aid, since it is not accredited. See our downloadable academic Catalog (Enrollment and Financial Information sections) and applicable areas on this website for information about financial aid, tuition, and fees by clicking here.
Can SBI admit International Students?
SBI is not authorized to accept applicants for study with student visas. Therefore, foreign nationals wishing to study at SBI must reside in the U.S. as permanent residents, or have established some other form of legal status whereby study at a higher education institution is authorized.
Authorized international applicants must give evidence of educational background that is at least equivalent to a U.S. high school diploma. It is the responsibility of the applicant to obtain records or transcripts from their respective schools in their home countries. Said records should be translated and notarized as “official” documents. International transfer of course credit or academic program credentials may also require outside review from Josef Silney and Associates foreign credentials evaluators, which is also the reasonability of the student. For further details please contact the Admissions Office.
Applicants who are not native English speakers must demonstrate evidence of sufficient English language skills to do successful post-secondary work. In some cases collaborative testing such as TOEFL, TOESL, or ASSET may be required to complete the admission process.
Will my degree be “grandfathered” after SBI is accredited?
The concept of “grandfathering” a degree does not apply toaccreditation. Accreditation applies to the school or programs and not necessarily to all of the academic credentials offered by an institution. If a student graduates from SBI prior to accreditation, they will graduate from an unaccredited institution. If they graduate after accreditation they will graduate from an accredited institution. Any acceptance of an academic credential from SBI prior to accreditation belongs to the decision-making process of that institution. SBI is always glad to assist with questions about academic equivalency from other institutions.
What happens if SBI gets accredited while I am still in school?
If a student is applying to another school, the registrar will ask or look to see if the school is accredited. If it is accredited at that time, then the conversation will usually end there. Each higher education school has its own evaluation process and in some cases may require equivalency or validation/challenge type entrance exams to form an objective decision. In SBI’s evaluation and with collaboration from other independent higher education professionals, all syllabi and course work are comparable with other accredited institutions. Professors currently meet the credentialing and experience requirements for ABHE and other regionally accredited agencies to teach courses within their discipline at the undergraduate level.
When will SBI be accredited?
SBI is unable to make any predictions or guarantees regarding future accreditation because that is up to ABHE to grant based on the school’s level of compliance with the association’s Comprehensive Standards for accredited schools required throughout its membership. As noted above, ABHE accreditation is an independent peer review process based on peer evaluation by a school achieving compliance with ABHE standards for accreditation. Doing what you say you are doing and continuous improvement are the main thread leading to accreditation, not simply ticking off and complying with a list of requirements. These Comprehensive Standards can be located on the associational website at: http://www.abhe-sln.org/opac/comprehensive_standards.pdf. Again, in looking forward toward our next step in pursuing accreditation, if Applicant status is granted to SBI, Candidate and Accredited statuses are next and may be achieved within a reasonable amount of time given demons ratable compliance by SBI.
For a printable copy of this document, click here to download the accreditation process FAQ sheet.