The Accrediting Association of Seventh-day Adventist Schools, Colleges, and Universities (AAA) is the denominational accrediting authority for all tertiary and graduate educational programs and institutions owned by Seventh-day Adventist Church entities. It also reviews and endorses the accreditation of secondary schools and mid-level institutions owned by the Church, as recommended by the Commissions on Accreditation of the divisions. The Commission on Accreditation of each division is responsible for the denominational accreditation of primary schools owned by the Church in its territory. The Accrediting Association of Seventh-day Adventist Schools, Colleges, and Universities and the Commissions on Accreditation evaluate the quality of the denominational institutions’ programs and their implementation of the Seventh-day Adventist philosophy of education in order to foster the unity and mission of the Church.
In 1985 several private school organizations which accredited their member schools, worked with the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Private Education in seeking Federal recognition of their accreditation programs.
However, the Department’s General Counsel ruled there was not statutory authority for the Department to recognize any elementary – secondary accrediting agencies – including regional associations such as the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools, Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, etc. As a result of this, efforts to obtain recognition of private school accreditation programs ceased.
The concept resurfaced in 1992, when the same private school organizations began exploring the possibility of developing a national entity (not Federal) which would essentially serve as an “accrediting association of private school accrediting agencies.”
In September 1993, these organizations agreed to formalize the process at the National Council for Private School Accreditation (NCPSA). Sixteen associations now hold full membership status in the Council. And, in order to assure that NCPSA recognition remains credible, highly respected educators such as former U.S. Secretary of Education Terrel Bell, Middles States Association of Colleges and Schools Elementary School Commission John Stoops, and others were asked to serve on the Council as at-large or “public” representatives.