Official Word on SACS Progress
The Collegian has published a story outlining the progress BJU has made on regional accreditation.
“How long will the regional accreditation process take for BJU?”
This is a question many have had since it was announced last semester that the University would be applying for accreditation through the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).
This has been a major question given what is at stake for many of the students. BJU finally admitted that TRACS is failing students, and Weier noted in that same article that regional accreditation will not be retroactive. So students are now well aware that they might be denied grad school admission or jobs because of TRACS accreditation, but see a possible future savior in SACS regional accreditation. The problem? How long will it take?
I've noted several times that in my estimate accreditation never happens overnight. I've held that from the time they start gathering information, not just looking, it would take a bare minimum of 5-7 years (published 12/05/2011) , and I've held to that number ever since. From the article, it looks like I was right.
The University must go through two cycles of gathering data to present to the accrediting board before it can apply for accreditation, according to BJU director of institutional effectiveness Mr. Phil Gerard.
Each cycle lasts one year, and this semester marks the beginning of the first cycle for BJU.
So it will take no fewer than 2 years before BJU is even able to apply for regional accreditation. That means at the present current seniors and juniors are out of luck. But remember that is 2 years before BJU can apply, and assuming that they meet the requirements to apply. How long will it take to actually be confirmed?
Once BJU meets the requirements to apply, it will take anywhere from as little as 18 months to as long as four years for SACS to make its decision on accreditation for BJU.
So where does that leave the time line? If we believe his bottom number that is 1.5 years, so we are now up to 3.5 years. So at the bare minimum, according to Bob Jones University themselves, every senior, junior, and sophomore will graduate without regional accreditation. But if we look at the range he gave it is pretty large, and well within the 5-7 years I predicted when BJU first announced they were thinking about accreditation. Which means that there is a very real possibility that every current student on campus may graduate without regional accreditation, and even possibly one or two more incoming freshmen classes.
That is a sobering reality to think about. Again, BJU has already admitted, and I've outlined here many examples, that TRACS accreditation isn't opening all the doors it should. Knowing what I know now there is no way I'd get a non-regionally accredited degree, but if you are a current BJU student, you are likely completely out of luck on that front. My advice? Transfer.
Note: Please see the following post about TTU's long wait for regional accreditation.