BGU is accredited at the highest level of institutional accreditation in the US, but revised policies by the US Department of Education has made that even more apparent than before.
In the late 19th and early 20th century the US established six regional accrediting agencies that eventually created standards and peer review processes to improve the quality of US higher education. Throughout the 20th century, national accreditation agencies were also added for specializations that needed peer-reviews focused on vocational, values-based, or specialized-purpose higher educational institutions. BGU is nationally accredited by the Transnational Association of Christian Colleges and Schools which guarantees peer review of BGU’s character standards to be conducted by other Christian universities (“Christian”), and the review of its global programs to be conducted by schools who serve students both in North America as well as global locations (“Transnational”). BGU is institutionally accredited as a residential graduate university with authorization to conduct online programs, hybrid programs and residential programs on its main campus or in global field education sites. BGU has three colleges (Urban Studies, Christian Theology and Business) that require students to work across global and program boundaries to uniquely prepare them for international leadership roles that foster collaboration between various sectors of society.
While the academic standards required by the US Department of Education (USDoED) for both the regional and national accreditation have been at the same level for several decades, older policies have persisted that have created the perceptions and biases that favored regional accreditation. As a result, students from nationally-accredited programs often faced additional obstacles to transfer credits, apply to graduate programs, sit for professional licensure exams, or be hired for teaching positions in graduate programs at some schools.
This discrepancy has recently been addressed by the USDoED which has provided states and the Council on Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA – the USDoED’s accrediting body), with new guidance and new language. Starting in February 2020, the US Department of Education no longer uses the terms “regional” or “national” to refer to an accrediting agency stating,
Because the Department holds all accrediting agencies to the same standards, distinctions between regional and national accrediting agencies are unfounded. Moreover, we have determined that most regional accreditors operate well outside of their historic geographic borders, primarily through the accreditation of branch campuses and additional locations. As a result, our new regulations have removed geography from an accrediting agency’s scope. Instead of distinguishing between regional and national accrediting agencies, the Department will distinguish only between institutional and programmatic accrediting agencies.”
Much of this historic bias in favor of regional-accreditation has disappeared in the last 10 years, yet some agencies and schools still have older language in their policies which will now have to be addressed with a new urgency. In the past, when BGU graduates have faced obstacles either in other US schools or from international government agencies using outdated language, BGU has been successful to help schools and agencies update their policies. This new directive from the USDE will be helpful in the future if BGU graduates face remaining bias.
In short, when all institutionally-accredited universities work together, the results are higher quality and more affordable education for students. BGU has worked often with other universities and seminaries in the US and in global locations to create customized programs for students that help them fulfill their calling to influence their nations and transform their cities.