Accreditation: Frequently Asked Questions
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 “Applicant” status at the undergraduate degree level with the Commission on Accreditation of the Association for Biblical Higher Education, 5850 TG Lee Blvd. Suite 130, Orlando, Florida, 32822, Ph. (407) 207-0808, www.abhe.org. Applicant status is a pre-membership status granted to those institutions that meet the ABHE Conditions of Eligibility and that possess such qualities as may provide a basis for achieving Candidate status within four years. As an Applicant school with the Association for Biblical Higher Education, Southern Bible Institute is listed on the association’s website 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 carrying out our institutional mission statement which is “to equip men and women to be competent servant leaders with a bible-centered worldview” and learning outcomes associated with our bible-centered curriculum. Our well known branding likewise affirms this decision by our Board of Directors and members of the broader 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 http://www.abhe.org/pages/NAV-aboutAccreditation.html.”
After being accepted as an ABHE “Applicant" institution in February, 2014, Southern Bible Institute began documenting its compliance with the Association’s annual reporting cycle and Comprehensive Integrated Standards (CIS), the next steps in the process for achieving Candidacy. SBI makes its institutional outcomes public on the website at http://www.southernbible.org/index.cfm/PageID/1610/index.htm. ABHE's list of Comprehensive Integrated Standards can be found on the ABHE Website in the COA Manual, pages 13-29. Web URL: http://www.abhe-resources.com/pdfResources/COA/2013_COA_Manual.pdf.
ABHE's Comprehensive Integrated Standards principally involves the submission of a comprehensive institutional self study with assessment and planning documents. The self study is rigorous compliance evaluation of the whole institution with responses and documentation justifying that SBI be granted Candidacy, the next step in the process accreditation process and the reason for which SBI chose ABHE, to help us grow institutionally and advance high academic standards, while carrying out our and institutional mission statement and learning outcomes associated with our bible-centered curriculum.
What about attending an unaccredited school?
SBI has educated students for 87 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.
SBI currently has a course articulation agreement with Moody Bible Institute. As of May 2013, SBI graduates with the Associate of Science degree can fully transfer all course credits in that degree to Moody's Bachelor of Arts Ministry Leaderships degree. At the end, a student graduates with a four-year degree that is recognized by the two accrediting associations, faith related - the Association of Biblical Higher Education and regionally - and regionally by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools. For more detailed information, please call the Admissions office at SBI, 214.224.5481.
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 http://www.southernbible.org/tuition.
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 or TOESL 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 to accreditation. 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 decision rests with ABHE to grant based on the school’s level of compliance with the association’s Comprehensive Integrated Standards for accredited schools required throughout its membership. ABHE accreditation is an independent peer review process based on peer evaluation by a school achieving compliance with ABHE's comprehensive integrated standards for accreditation. Doing what you say you are doing and continuous improvement are the main threads leading to accreditation, not simply ticking off and complying with a list of requirements. SBI has been granted Candidate status with ABHE. This is a non-member status. Again, in looking forward our next step in the accreditation process is pursuing candidacy. If Candidate status is granted to SBI, Initial Accredited status is next and may be achieved within a reasonable amount of time given demonstrated compliance evaluated by peer review.
For a printable copy of this document, click here to download the accreditation process FAQ sheet.