Accreditation: Frequently Asked Questions
Is SBIC accredited?
No. Southern Bible Institute & College is not accredited, but SBIC is actively pursuing accreditation with the Association for Biblical Higher Education (ABHE). However, SBIC currently holds Candidate status with the ABHE Commission on Accreditation (COA), 5850 T. G. Lee Blvd., Ste. 130, Orlando, FL 32822, 407.207.0808. Candidate status is a preaccreditation status granted to those institutions that meet the ABHE Conditions of Eligibility and that possess such qualities as may provide a basis for achieving accreditation status within five years. As a Candidate Institution with the Association for Biblical Higher Education, Southern Bible is listed on the Association’s website directory for member colleges: https://www.abhe.org/directory/.
Who is ABHE and why did SBIC choose ABHE?
ABHE is a North American higher education association recognized by the U.S. Department of Education and is an officially recognized “faith-based” accrediting organization 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.
SBIC 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 Biblical higher education institution 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 statement affirms this Board of Director’s decision with members of the broader SBIC educational community: “Equipping Servant Leaders.”
Where is SBIC in the accreditation process?
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. Besides this, “Granting Candidate (preaccreditation) status is an affirming, public action based on the COA’s judgment that the institution is making satisfactory progress toward Initial Accreditation and shows promise of achieving accreditation within a maximum of five years,” COA Manual, page 80 https://www.abhe.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/10/2019-COA-Manual.pdf. The end result is assurance to the public that SBIC meets accepted standards of quality and integrity.
After being accepted by the Commission as an ABHE “Candidate" institution in February 2019, Southern Bible continues to document its compliance with the Association’s annual reporting cycle and Institutional Accreditation Standards (IAS), the next steps in the process for achieving Initial Accreditation. SBIC discloses its institutional outcomes to the public on its website at https://www.southernbible.org/public-disclosure. ABHE's Conditions of Eligibility and Institutional Accreditation Standards can be found on the ABHE Website in the COA Manual, pages 12-30. Web URL: https://www.abhe.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/10/2019-COA-Manual.pdf.
ABHE's Institutional Accreditation Standards principally involve the submission of a comprehensive institutional Self Study and related documentation with assessment and planning documents. The Self Study is a rigorous compliance evaluation of the whole institution with responses and documentation justifying that SBIC be granted Initial Accreditation. This next step in pursing the accreditation process is the reason for which SBIC 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 institution?
SBIC has educated students for more than 95 years. Its core mission has not wavered and with over nine decades in continuous operation—this speaks well about the institute’s longevity and respectability in the Dallas/Fort Worth community.
When will SBIC be accredited?
SBIC is unable to make any predictions or guarantees regarding future accreditation because that decision rests with the ABHE Commission on Accreditation to grant Initial Accreditation based on the institution’s level of compliance with the association’s Institutional Accreditation Standards for accredited institutions required throughout its membership. ABHE accreditation is an independent/member institution review process based on peer evaluation. 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. SBIC has been granted Candidate status with ABHE. This is a non-accredited status. Again, in looking forward, our next step in the accreditation process is pursuing Initial Accreditation. If Initial Accreditation status is granted to SBIC, a five-year reaffirmation ‘Accredited’ status is next and may be achieved within a reasonable amount of time given demonstrated compliance evaluated by peer review.
Will my degree be “grandfathered” after SBIC is accredited?
The concept of “grandfathering” a degree does not apply to accreditation. Accreditation applies to the institution or programs and not necessarily to all the academic credentials offered by an institution. If a student graduated from SBIC prior to accreditation, they would graduate from an unaccredited institution. If they graduate after accreditation they will graduate from an accredited institution. Any acceptance of academic credentials from SBIC prior to accreditation belongs to the decision-making process of that institution. SBIC is always glad to assist with questions about academic equivalency from other institutions.
What happens if SBIC gets accredited while I am still in an academic program?
If a student is applying to another institution; the registrar will check accreditation status before accepting transcripted credits. If the institution holds an accredited status at that time, then the conversation will usually end there. Each higher education institution has its own evaluation process and may require equivalency or validation/challenge type entrance exams to form an objective decision. In SBIC’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.
Any further questions or concerns about SBIC’s accreditation should be directed to the Institutional Effectiveness Office, Dr. Joel Wilson (SBIC’s Accreditation Liaison) 972.224.5481 or email@example.com.