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A-B Tech Community College is going through the process to receive reaffirmation of its accreditation. The following Q and A explains the process and organizations involved in the accreditation.
- What is SACS? SACS is the acronym for the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools. SACS is one of six regional accrediting associations for education in the United States and the accrediting body for 11 Southern states (Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas and Virginia) and Latin America. You may visit the SACS home page at www.sacs.org for more information.
- What does SACS do? SACS accredits educational institutions at all levels from early childhood centers through doctoral degree granting universities.
- What is the COC? The Commission on Colleges is part of SACS and is responsible for the accreditation of public and private universities, senior colleges and two-year colleges. It is comprised of approximately 1,200 colleges and universities.
- What are the accrediting standards used by the COC? The accrediting standards used by the Commission on Colleges are contained in the handbook, Principles of Accreditation.
- What must a college do to be reaccredited? There are two major tasks: Compliance Certification, which documents in great detail that A-B Tech is in compliance with every standard in the Principles of Accreditation and the Quality Enhancement Plan (QEP), where the College selects and develops a major improvement project which addresses student learning and success.
- Why is accreditation important to faculty? Accreditation allows our faculty to compete for federal research grants. Faculty can also be assured that student work completed at an accredited institution is creditable. Faculty can trust that students transferring into their programs are prepared to successfully proceed with the program.
- Why is accreditation important to students? Accreditation allows our students to have access to federally-subsidized financial aid and ensures that the courses and degrees our students receive will be recognized by and transferrable to other institutions. Attending an accredited institution ensures the student the programs and courses at the institution are creditable and of good quality, making them more competitive to employers.
- Is A-B Tech accredited? Yes, the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools last accredited us in 2004. We are now seeking reaffirmation of our accreditation for ten years beyond 2014.
- Is accreditation permanent? SACS requires that an institution’s accreditation be reviewed every 10 years. Since our accreditation was reaffirmed in 2004, we are scheduled for another review in 2014.
- What is QEP? QEP stands for Quality Enhancement Plan, which is a long-term (five-year) improvement plan, identified through an institution-wide process, focused on improving student learning outcomes in one area. The topic for A-B Tech’s QEP is improving distance education.
- What is the SACS Visiting Committee? About 15 people from community colleges in the Southeast will visit A-B Tech Sept. 17-19, 2013, to examine all aspects of our operations.