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Why Does Accreditation Matter So Much?

You are a working professional on the move. You are thinking of spending a huge amount of time and a substantial amount of money on obtaining a Master of Business Administration (MBA) degree. Shouldn't you get the most for your investment?

If there is one piece of advice you should follow as you look for an online MBA degree program, it is do your research. There are many advanced degree programs online, and in order to separate the wheat from the chaff, consider the accreditation of the program.

Accreditation by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB), means that online MBA degree programs like those offered by the University of West Florida enable you to earn a quality business education in a convenient format.

What Is Accreditation?

According to OnlineMBA.com, accreditation is an independent evaluation process designed to recognize colleges and universities that meet rigorous academic standards by requiring them to demonstrate their academic quality to an independent accrediting agency. Accreditation also helps students and employers determine the value of a degree of interest.

Accrediting agencies develop their own standards for application that may include an institution's educational quality, financial stability and ethical principles. OnlineMBA.com states accrediting agencies will often examine student retention, as well as assess skills, graduate placement records and student satisfaction. Once a university is accredited, it must undergo periodic reviews in order to maintain its status.

The 'Gold Standard' for Business Schools

According to OnlineMBA.com, AACSB is the oldest and most prestigious of the three MBA accreditation agencies in the United States. It was created in 1916 when a group of prestigious colleges and universities, including Harvard, the University of Pennsylvania, Northwestern University and the University of Chicago, joined to promote excellence in business education.

The website says that AACSB is one of the most trusted resources in evaluating MBA programs and is considered "the gold standard of business accreditation. AASCB accredits less than 5% of eligible MBA programs, marking out the most elite programs conferring MBA degrees. Business programs that hold AACSB accreditation meet rigorous standards of academic quality, faculty qualifications and student outcomes."

Benefits of Accreditation

One huge benefit of accreditation is financial assistance to active duty military, National Guard and Reserve Component military. Tuition assistance can pay up to 100% of tuition expenses for semester hours costing $250 or less per credit. The only catch, according to MilitaryOneSource.com, is that the academic or technical degree programs must be accredited by the U.S. Department of Education.

AACSB-accredited business schools, specifically, can be a ticket to a better future, according to BestBizSchools.com. The website claims many top global corporations only recruit from AACSB-accredited schools, offering better, more competitive salaries. The website also notes some organizations will reimburse tuition from AASCB-accredited schools because their students have higher levels of performance.

OnlineMBA.com says accreditation is also important for the following reasons:

  • It is a strong indicator that a program will provide a quality education, assuring online MBA programs are academically rigorous and comprehensive.
  • Accrediting agencies thoroughly evaluate faculty at institutions offering MBAs to ensure high teaching standards are met.
  • It is often used by prospective employers as a guide to evaluate the reputation of an MBA program. It assures the degree-holder received a quality education. Many agencies, in fact, recommend graduates include the accrediting institution's name in their resumes.
  • Prospective MBA students can use accreditation to narrow their list of potential schools. Restricting a search to online MBA programs accredited by the AACSB, for example, will eliminate less competitive programs.
  • Accreditation can help with tuition costs. The federal government uses an institution's accreditation status to determine if its students are eligible for financial aid. Most employer tuition reimbursement programs apply only to accredited MBA programs as well.
  • Many online MBA programs will accept transfer credits only from accredited programs from other institutions.

The University of West Florida is one of only 5% of eligible schools carrying the prestigious AACSB accreditation for its online Master of Business Administration program. The accreditation ensures a quality curriculum relevant to today's business environment and the tools necessary to meet your higher education and career goals.

Learn more about the University of West Florida's online MBA program.


Sources:

What is MBA Accreditation?

MilitaryOneSource.com: How to Use the Military Tuition Assistance Program

AACSB: Choose a Business School with AACSB Accreditation, the Benchmark for Quality for Business Education Worldwide


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