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Our History

Our History

In April 1988, representatives from 150 business schools and programs across the country met in Kansas City to consider the feasibility of forming a new accrediting body based on an innovative approach. While recognizing the importance of scholarly research and encouraging a mutually beneficial balance between research and teaching, the new accreditation process would focus on teaching excellence and student outcomes. For those convening the meeting, the big question was what the level of interest would be. They had their answer when 149 of those representatives voted to participate in making the idea a reality.

The founders of what was then known as the Association of Collegiate Business Schools and Programs went to work creating a process that not only recognized the scholarship of teaching but promoted continuous improvement in teaching and real-world success for students.

It was a first, as was the decision to be inclusive in its membership. ACBSP was the first to realize the importance of including associate degree schools, as well as private and religious institutions.

ACBSP was also the first accrediting body to be recognized by the U.S. Department of Education and later, the first to be recognized by CHEA, the Council for Higher Education Accreditation.

In 2010, to better define the mission of the Association as well as to reflect a growing global presence, the decision was made to change the name of ACBSP to Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs. Today, ACBSP has a network of more than 1,260 member campuses and more than 10,000 individual members, making it one of the leading accreditation bodies for business schools and programs around the world.


Recognition by the U.S. Department of Education. This continued through 1996 when the U.S. Department of Education made the decision to recognize only those agencies that impacted the distribution of federal funding.
Recognition by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA). ACBSP became the first business program accreditor to be recognized by the Council.
Implementation of "Better Than Ever” initiative extending membership and member benefits to every person involved in the delivery of a business education including the president, chief academic officer, and all faculty members plus dramatic improvements in member services and benefits.
Introduction of a new branded website, ACBSP Gateway, with a separate login feature for members.
Implementation of a new strategic plan and expansion of the seven U.S. Regions, in which ACBSP members are geographically represented, to include the provinces and territories of Canada.
Approval of standards for separate accreditation in accounting.
Initiation of an overall rebranding initiative to better define the mission of the Association as well as to reflect a growing global presence.