Ave Maria University is now a candidate for accredidation with SACS!
Already accredited with AALE, American Academy for Liberal Education, and is working on accreditation with the Southern ASsociation of Colleges and Schools.
AVE MARIA, Fla. (December 10, 2008) - The Commission on Colleges (COC) of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS) announced yesterday that Ave Maria University has officially been awarded "candidate" status and is now able to begin the process of working toward "membership" status with SACS. The announcement was made as part of the actions taken by the COC at its annual meeting held in San Antonio, Texas.
Candidacy status is only achieved after an institution of higher education completes the pre-accreditation process that includes: submitting an application; undergoing an internal review by members of the SACS staff; undergoing an independent third-party review by peer evaluators from COC-member institutions; being in compliance with the Core Requirements, applicable Comprehensive Standards and the Federal Requirement sections of the Principles of Accreditation; and is judged by the Compliance and Review Committee as being in compliance.
AMU Founder and Chancellor, Thomas S. Monaghan, and AMU Vice President for Academic Affairs, John E. Sites, received the news in San Antonio with excitement and appreciation.
"This is truly a great day for the university," Monaghan said. "We have been working toward this goal for many years and are excited about what this means for the university community, especially our students. On behalf of the Board of Trustees and everyone at AMU, I want to thank and congratulate all the university personnel who worked so diligently to achieve this candidacy status."
Sites noted AMU's commitment to SACS and the process toward full accreditation.
"Ave Maria pledges that it will comply with all the requirements of the Commission and looks forward to completing and satisfying its further requirements and obligations to the Southern Association," Sites said. "We feel privileged to have earned candidacy status, and we are anxious to launch into the next steps of the membership process."
AMU first applied to SACS for membership in August 2003, prior to its first year of operation. The institution voluntarily withdrew the application when it decided to launch new masters and doctoral programs in theology, an action that constituted a substantive institutional change which is not allowed during the application process. Reapplication was further deferred due to AMU's official acquisition of the San Marcos, Nicaragua campus, which required additional revisions to the application process. Subsequent to that acquisition, the University was free to reapply for accreditation as a larger and reconfigured international institution of higher education. The revised application was submitted in May 2007 and updated in fall 2008.
Candidacy status will cover both the parent campus in Ave Maria, Fla., and the branch campus in San Marcos, Nicaragua. Originally founded in 1998 as a college in Ypsilanti, Mich., in 2002 the name was changed to Ave Maria University and it became the first new university in the Catholic tradition started in the U.S. in 40 years. AMU has a total enrollment of more than 1,000 students (Florida campus, San Marcos campus and Institute for Pastoral Theology program) from across the nation and more than 25 countries. Between the two campuses, the university features a broad range of undergraduate courses and programs ranging from the humanities to business administration. AMU also offers graduate degrees in theology at the master and doctoral levels.
AMU is also accredited by the American Academy for Liberal Education (AALE), a status achieved in the summer of 2008. AALE is a national accreditation agency for undergraduate liberal arts institutions and programs and is authorized by the Secretary of Education to accredit institutions and approve their eligibility for participation in Federal financial aid programs. Achieving the candidacy status with SACS will enable AMU to extend the Federal financial assistance opportunities to its graduate students. The candidacy status with SACS was awarded to AMU as a Level V institution, a classification that covers institutions offering three or fewer academic or professional doctoral programs. †