ABHE Applicant Status

Calvary Chapel Bible College holds applicant status with the Association for Biblical Higher Education Commission on Accreditation, located at 5850 T. G. Lee Blvd., Ste. 130, Orlando, Florida, 32822, (407) 207-0808. Applicant status is a pre-membership status granted to those institutions that meet the ABHE Conditions of Eligibility and that possess such qualities as may provide a basis for achieving candidate status within five years.

Many accredited colleges have accepted some of CCBC’s courses in transfer, and graduates with our bachelor’s degree have been accepted by some of the finest seminaries in the United States. For more information on transferring from CCBC to other institutions, please view the College Packet.

Frequently Asked Questions

No, CCBC is not currently accredited, but CCBC is pursuing accreditation and currently holds Applicant Status with ABHE. 

Calvary Chapel Bible College meets California state requirements for religious exemption pursuant to California Education Code Section 94874(e)(1), as verified by the California Bureau for Private Postsecondary Education (BPPE). The BPPE is a unit of the California Department of Consumer Affairs. The BPPE ensures that private institutions of postsecondary education are conducted lawfully. Calvary Chapel Bible College satisfies all of the applicable BPPE requirements. 

Currently, we seek to demonstrate the credibility of CCBC through compliance with generally accepted accreditation standards, credit transfer agreements with accredited colleges, and especially through the spiritually fruitful lives of our graduates.

CCBC is a part of the worldwide ministry of Calvary Chapel Costa Mesa and the Calvary Chapel family of churches, a global fellowship of Jesus-centered, Bible teaching, Holy Spirit-dependent local churches. 

CCBC holds Applicant Status through an association of evangelical Christians who are Bible College ministry colleagues:

The Association for Biblical Higher Education (ABHE)
5850 T. G. Lee Blvd, Suite 130
Orlando FL 32822
(407 208-0808 

The ABHE is a national, faith-related accreditation agency recognized by the United States Department of Education (USDE), the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA), and the International Council for Evangelical Theological Education (ICETE). 

See ABHE Tenets of Faith Here.

Accreditation means “approval” by an external organization. It is a quality assurance measure, and is the primary way that colleges and universities demonstrate credibility to the public.

Accreditation involves three forms of evaluation: (1) self-evaluation (self-study), (2) evaluation by peers, and (3) evaluation by the accrediting agency.

Accreditation is also a voluntary self-improvement process.

To better serve our students and the Church. Accreditation will open doors for our students, allowing them to serve Christ in a wider variety of venues in which an unaccredited degree would not be recognized. Accreditation also opens doors for certain scholarships, benefits, and grants, making the biblical education we offer financially possible for students who need assistance. Since accreditation is a comprehensive self-improvement process, the benefits of accreditation will also help us improve and sustain better overall service to students in every aspect of their biblical learning experience. Accreditation will:

1. Improve transferability of credits earned through CCBC.
2. Allow CCBC students to apply for access to FAFSA funds, Pell Grants, Veterans’ Benefits, and other sources of funding.
3. Connect CCBC with a community of other evangelical Bible college leaders for fellowship and mutual encouragement.

History. We did pursue accreditation during the late 1980s and early 1990s, but we withdrew from the process at that time, opting to rely only on State approval instead (which is no longer available).

State-level changes. The State of California now looks to federally recognized accreditors for providing standards and approvals of colleges, rather than providing its own standards. The State’s Bureau for Private Postsecondary Education (BPPE) no longer approves or validates schools like ours, offering only exemption for religious schools. Religious, non-accredited schools have become increasingly marginalized, with no official, government-recognized means of demonstrating quality or credibility.

Readiness. Many of our pastor-teachers and alumni have pursued further education over the past few years, meaning that we now have more credentialed faculty members available to teach.

Need. More and more students and parents have expressed a desire that CCBC become accredited. 

Reach. We want to reach a broad base of potential students, many of whom are not familiar with Calvary Chapel. An external measure of quality assurance will be helpful to these students and their families as they consider attending CCBC.

Yes. There are many kinds of accreditation agencies, some of which are not recognized by the United States Department of Education (USDE) and Council on Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA). Some agencies accredit specific programs, while others accredit institutions. The most rigorous type of accreditation is called “regional” accreditation, which means accreditation by one of six regional accreditors in the United States.

The USDE and CHEA also recognize several national and specialized accreditation agencies.

Some accrediting agencies, such as the Association for Biblical Higher Education (ABHE) for undergraduate schools and the Association of Theological Schools (ATS) for graduate level schools are recognized as faith-based accreditors.

Unfortunately, some institutions make false claims regarding accreditation, and the word “accredited” is often misused.

CCBC is pursuing national, recognized accreditation of our institution as a whole, through a faith-based accreditor (the ABHE).

It is not possible to give a fixed date or timeline for reaching an accredited status. Right now we have Applicant Status. The three milestones of the accreditation journey are (1) applicant status, (2) candidate status, and (3) accredited status. Our aim is to demonstrate compliance with accreditation standards and achieve each of these milestones as efficiently as possible.

We believe that God does not only call the “qualified” to serve him, but he always qualifies the called. We remain committed to our belief that our students need to learn from both formally and informally trained teachers and mentors. Since we shape learners as a college, we do need a substantial and sufficient number of faculty members with graduate-level training in the areas they teach. Accreditation requires us to demonstrate and provide evidence of our credibility as a teaching institution, and faculty credentials are the most common way of demonstrating one’s training for teaching in higher education. Our plan for involving both “Pauls” (formally trained) and “Peters” (informally trained) includes:

Keeping non-credentialed pastors and missionaries teaching in Chapel, Lectures, and Speakers’ Week courses, and mentoring students in ministry in their areas of expertise.

Pairing teachers who have earned graduate degrees with others who do not, in a team-teaching design.

Recruiting some new part-time faculty members who have degrees, preferring pastors and leaders within Calvary Chapel as well as CCBC alumni.

Establishing a policy for the limited, ABHE-allowed exceptions to faculty credential requirements, based on a teacher’s recognized expertise on course topics. This could be a way to qualify a limited number teachers who do not have degrees but have published teachings through the whole Bible, are recognized as expert practitioners of missions and ministry or have similar evidence of their expertise.

Our mission will not change. Becoming accredited will simply require demonstrating that we are effectively carrying it out and will continue to do so. We, therefore, believe that working toward accreditation will help us change for the better, resulting in better service to the students we train and the worldwide Body of Christ, all for the greater glory of God.

We will remain connected with Affiliates through the Calvary Chapel family of churches. Since Affiliates are separate, legally independent schools, CCBC’s pursuit of accreditation will not affect them directly. CCBC will be able to continue transferring credits for equivalent coursework from unaccredited affiliates through credit transfer agreements.

Both accredited and unaccredited schools may face legal challenges related to their religious liberty, especially regarding same-sex relationships, gender identity, etc. Becoming part of the ABHE will connect CCBC with about 200 peer institutions and colleagues who would be facing similar challenges, working together to navigate the issues.

Presently, laws are in place to allow schools like CCBC to follow their religious convictions concerning marriage, sexuality, etc. If this changes in such a way that the government requires accredited schools to adopt policies that violate the Bible’s teaching, CCBC will withdraw from accreditation. Also, religious freedom issues are likely to affect government funding before they affect accreditation. It is possible to withdraw from government funding programs (FAFSA, etc.) but remain accredited. Presently, religious protections are in place for both accreditation and the funding programs. Accreditation is voluntary, and we are grateful for the opportunity to work toward accreditation with the ABHE, an association of Christians with strong evangelical Tenets of Faith.

While many colleges and seminaries have drifted from their conservative, biblical roots, many have not. Accreditation policies will hold us publicly accountable to our purpose within the Church’s mission, and our Statement of Faith, serving to strengthen them and not replace them.

"To Know God and Equip His Servants."