1. An institution must be an educational member of AACSB International in order to apply for accreditation.
2. The applicant school submits an eligibility application (for business and/or accounting accreditation) as an indication of interest to enter the AACSB accreditation process. A school may apply for business and accounting accreditation simultaneously, or for accounting accreditation following the achievement of business accreditation. An eligibility application fee applies.
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3. A preliminary review of the eligibility application is done by AACSB staff. If the application is determined to include all necessary information, it will be escalated to the Initial Accreditation Committee (IAC) or Accounting Accreditation Committee (AAC) for a final decision.
4. When the application is approved, a volunteer business school administrator (such as a dean) is assigned to the applicant school as a mentor to assist with the development of an initial self-evaluation report (iSER). This assigned mentor must avoid any appearance of conflict of interest. At this time, an AACSB accreditation staff liaison is also assigned to the school. This liaison serves as the primary contact person at AACSB for all accreditation-related questions.
5. The applicant school will receive an official letter from AACSB informing the institution that its eligibility application has been approved and that a mentor has been assigned. An invoice for the IAC or AAC process acceptance fee and initial accreditation fee will be sent to the school and must be paid in full within one month of receipt.
6. The assigned mentor works with the applicant school to determine its current alignment with the accreditation standards and assist with the development of an iSER. If the mentor finds that there is no reasonable expectation that the school can develop a successful plan to align itself with the accreditation standards in the maximum allotted time, they will so advise.
7. With the mentor's consent, the applicant school submits its iSER along with its strategic plan to the IAC or AAC for review at its regularly scheduled meeting (view upcoming meeting dates). The iSER is generally completed in one year; however it may take a maximum of two years.
8. The IAC or AAC reviews the iSER. This review will lead to one of the following outcomes:
a. Acceptance of the iSER with a recommendation that the school develop a final Self-Evaluation Report (SER), following an invitation to apply for initial accreditation (IAC or AAC must concur).
b. The iSER is accepted with a recommendation that the school enter the implementation phase of the iSER. The school is asked to submit iSER update reports to inform the committee of its progress toward alignment with the standards (a three-year implementation period is permitted). The mentor then continues to work with the school until it is invited to submit an application for an initial accreditation visit (for business and/or accounting). Initial accreditation must be achieved five years following the acceptance of the iSER by the IAC or AAC.
c. Further development of the iSER is needed. A revise-and-resubmit recommendation is made to the school.
d. The iSER is not accepted, as it is determined that the applicant school will not be able to align itself with the AACSB accreditation standards within the maximum time allowed to complete the initial accreditation process (for business and/or accounting). The committee may ask the school to withdraw from the accreditation process.
9. Approximately one year in advance of the anticipated accreditation review visit, a peer review team chair (not the full team) is appointed. Chair appointments must avoid any appearance of conflict of interest. The chair guides the school as it develops its final SER and works with the school to develop the schedule for the visit.
10. The IAC or AAC appoints the additional members of the peer review team. The team reviews the final SER, as well as prepares and sends a pre-visit letter to the school following review and approval by the IAC or AAC.
11. The visit takes place and the peer review team delivers a visit report to the applicant school, which includes recommendations for accreditation, deferral, or denial of accreditation. The report and recommendation are forwarded to the IAC or AAC for concurrence.
12. Recommendations for accreditation or denials of accreditation are ratified by the IAC or AAC. Recommendations are forwarded to the AACSB Board of Directors for ratification.