The Association Free Lutheran Theological Seminary and Bible School is a member of the Transnational Association of Christian Colleges and Schools (TRACS), [15935 Forest Road, Forest, VA 24551; Telephone: (434) 525-9539; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org] having been awarded Candidate Status as a Category III institution by the TRACS Accreditation Commission on October 21, 2014. This status is effective for up to a period of five years.
This is good and quite an accomplishment. Basically “candidate status” says that we are a member institution of the TRACS accreditation agency and have been considered to be in basic compliance with the accrediting standards. Our next step is full accreditation and this can only happen as we demonstrate that we continue to function as we already have been doing. Our goal is to obtain full accreditation by the fall of 2018. However, students still experience the benefits of accreditation even during our candidacy phase. A “category III institution” says that the AFLC Schools (AFLBS and AFLTS) are currently approved to offer degrees through the master’s level.
The entire process of seeking accreditation with the Transnational Association of Christian Colleges and Schools or TRACS (tracs.org) has helped us sharpen our focus and make sure that everything we do is related to both our mission statement and our biblical foundations statement. Follow this link to learn more about the full benefits of accreditation with TRACS: http://tracs.org/documents/2015TheValueofNationalAccreditation.pdf
It helps greatly, but it still depends upon the institution and the focus of study being considered. AFLBS credits tend to transfer best into other Christian colleges with Bible-focused majors. Several Bible colleges accredited by TRACS and ABHE will potentially accept credits into their program, given AFLBS’s connection with those institutions.
Yes. We care deeply about helping students transfer credits as they continue their undergraduate studies. Because of accreditation the transfer of credit can often now occur even without transfer agreements. As students express interest in studying at various institutions beyond AFLBS, we seek to assist them however we can.
We have excellent teachers at AFLBS, as our student evaluations consistently demonstrate. Some of our faculty that also teach graduate level studies at our seminary are continuing to study in advanced degree programs, which also positively impacts AFLBS students. Our teachers love to teach, but they also value continuing to learn as students. When our schools consider potential new faculty members we are much more concerned the character of who is chosen than whether they have fully gained the desired academic credentials. We are committed to assisting with the ongoing training that faculty may undergo even after they are called to teach.
Current students will benefit through the quality of their student experience. Our heritage as a two-year, college level program where the main focus is the Bible remains. Our accreditation through TRACS is actually helping to strengthen this focus at AFLBS.
We are working with the U.S. Department of Education so that we will be assigned the appropriate identification number to make this as easy as possible. We will notify students and families when this identification number becomes available.
We are not planning to do this for a variety of reasons. However, we are seeking the U.S. Department of Education identification number mentioned above that would also greatly assist seminarians if they desire to defer their undergraduate student loans during their time of seminary studies.