ConstituencyThere are more than 1200 institutions of biblical higher education in Canada, the United States, and related territories. Among these, ABHE institutions assist men and women in the development of a biblical world view with a special emphasis on the training of students for church and church-related vocations. Each undergraduate institution or program that is accredited by the Association consists of biblical/theological studies, general studies, and professional studies. Involvement in ministry formation activities is also an integral part of the biblical higher education experience. ABHE also serves a growing number of institutions that have seminaries or graduate divisions.
RecognitionThe Association for Biblical Higher Education is recognized as a national, faith-based accrediting agency by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA) (www.chea.org), the successor of the Council on Postsecondary Education (COPA), and subsequently the Commission on Recognition of Postsecondary accreditation (CORPA).
ABHE is also listed by the United States Department of Education (www.ed.gov) as a recognized national, institutional accrediting agency. USDE recognition extends as well to ABHE’s candidate (pre-accredited) institutions. The Commission’s accredited and pre-accredited member institutions are recognized by the Department of Justice, the Veteran’s Administration, and other relevant federal agencies in the United States. ABHE’s scope of recognition by the Council on Higher Education Accreditation includes institutions and programs at the undergraduate and graduate levels through traditional and distance education modalities. Although recognition by USDE is currently limited to undergraduate education (including both traditional and distance education modalities), the Commission is working to achieve USDE recognition of its expanded scope (graduate-level and programmatic accreditation). ABHE’s recognition petition, filed with the Office of Postsecondary Education in June 2008, is still in pending review status due to the re-constituted National Advisory Council on Institutional Quality and Integrity (NACIQI). The Executive and Legislative branches are in the process of appointing new committee members following the 2008 adoption of a new Higher Education Act.
Finally, ABHE is recognized by the International Council for Evangelical Theological Education (www.icete-edu.org), the theological education affiliate of the World Evangelical Alliance. The Council is a global community sponsored by eight continental/regional associations of theological schools. Incorporated in the State of Illinois as a not-for-profit corporation, the Association is exempt from income tax under the provisions of section 501 (c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1954.
ABHE is governed by its member institutions through a delegate assembly which elects members of both a Board of Directors and a Commission on Accreditation at an annual business meeting. Accrediting decisions are made by the Commission on Accreditation. The Association’s public accountability is underscored by the requirement that both the Board of Directors and the Commission on Accreditation must include public representatives among its members. The Commission is administered by a full-time Director with the support of additional Association and Commission professional and support staff.
The Association is administered by a full-time President and supported by a corps of professional staff.