The Impact of Initial Accreditation from Aacsb on the Enrollment of Three South Texas Universities

By Womack, John Quintin; Krueger, Thomas M. | Journal of Business and Behavior Sciences, Spring 2015 | Go to article overview

The Impact of Initial Accreditation from Aacsb on the Enrollment of Three South Texas Universities


Womack, John Quintin, Krueger, Thomas M., Journal of Business and Behavior Sciences


INTRODUCTION

Given the prestige of accreditation by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business International (AACSB) and the rigorous requirements that earning AACSB accreditation entails, one would expect that the resulting curricular improvements and improvement in the perception of a college of business would be attractive to students. One measure of attractiveness is student enrollment. This study investigates the relationship between undergraduate enrollment and the receipt of initial accreditation from AACSB at Texas A&M International University (TAMIU) in comparison with the enrollment at Texas A&M University-Kingsville (TAMUK) and the University of Texas-Pan American (UTPA). It examines undergraduate enrollment at each university's college of business administration and the total undergraduate enrollment at each school for the five years prior to and the five years following the receipt of initial AACSB accreditation by TAMIU. There are two research hypothesizes:

Research Hypothesis #1:

Earning AACSB accreditation will result in an insignificant increase in enrollment following its receipt of AACSB accreditation.

Research Hypothesis #2:

Enrollments in the colleges of business administration at TAMUK and UTPA will experience a insignificant enrollment decline that can be attributable to the receipt of initial accreditation at the College of Business Administration at TAMIU.

Students' perception of the importance of AACSB accreditation is shaped not only by the schools they are considering for their undergraduate education but also by outside forces. A student may be persuaded to attend an AACSB-accredited school because of career goals reliant on their undergraduate education. With these sorts of endorsements for AACSB accreditation, it is reasonable to make the hypothesis that earning AACSB accreditation will raise a college's profile and thus its attractiveness to students.

LITERATURE REVIEW

Little literature can be found directly addressing the effect AACSB accreditation has on undergraduate enrollment. Most articles concerning AACSB accreditation study the effects of accreditation on faculty research, deans' perceptions of accreditation, the costs and benefits of earning accreditation, and the changes in AACSB accreditation standards (see for example, Alexander and Hatfield (2002) and Heriot, Franklin, and Austin (2009). This is troubling because the lack of research on the effects of AACSB accreditation relating to enrollment may lead to insufficient planning on the part of leaders at universities and colleges of business pursuing AACSB accreditation. Earning AACSB accreditation is a long, expensive process that may require extensive revision at an interested college. If these changes encourage growth in enrollment, then adequate faculty and facilities will need to be made available. If earning AACSB accreditation leads to an enrollment decrease, then leadership should reevaluate their decision to pursue accreditation as well as the viability of the college after receiving accreditation. Either way, studying the effects of accreditation on enrollment is necessary and helps to fill a void in the literature.

When considering the effects of earning initial AACSB accreditation, it is important to recognize the reasons why a school may pursue it. A study by Roller, Andrews and Bovee (2003) details the many reasons why colleges of business pursue various accreditations. The study looked at schools pursuing accreditation from AACSB, the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs (ACBSP) and the International Assembly for Collegiate Business Education (IACBE). When asked to assign a level of importance to a number of potential reasons their college is pursuing accreditation, deans indicated that accreditation was very important to demonstrate the "competitiveness" of their program (Roller, Andrews & Bovee, 2003, pg.199). This was especially so for deans at schools pursing AACSB accreditation. …

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