Update for ACSA Members

July 19, 2016


We would like to update you on the status of our negotiations with NAAB, AIA, NCARB, and AIAS over the funding and governance of NAAB.

ACSA board and staff represent the collective interests of our members in NAAB matters. We continue to advocate for more equitable representation of educators on NAAB’s board and in other activities, and we continue to advocate for decreasing the cost of accreditation and improving the value of the process to schools.

As we reported at last November’s Administrators Conference, the Path Forward group , a task force with representation from all five collateral organizations, delivered interlinked recommendations that included, among other things: 
  • Increasing the number of educators on the NAAB board and removing collateral appointment of NAAB directors.
  • Changing NAAB funding to a combination of fees from schools and contributions from AIA, NCARB, and AIAS, with the goal of not increasing the overall cost to schools for accreditation.
  • Exploring a joint operating agreement between ACSA and NAAB that would realize efficiencies and reduce the need for funding increases for both NAAB and ACSA.
  • Establishing a 5-year transition period after which NAAB’s board composition would be 5 educators to 4 practitioners, and schools would contribute 50% of NAAB’s accreditation revenue, and AIA, NCARB, and AIAS would contribute the other 50%. Once again, this model included the goal of not increasing costs to schools.

The ACSA Board of Directors decided to pursue the recommendations of the Path Forward group to the extent possible, because the recommendations were the result of a facilitated process that sought compromise among all five collateral organizations. However, the integrated solution does not appear close to being realized.

  • NAAB’s proposed bylaws changes were released in February 2016 without any input from ACSA and other collaterals, and did not match the recommendations of the Path Forward group. The ACSA board will meet in early August to determine whether to reject the bylaws amendments. The other collaterals have been reviewing them, as well. A vote to reject the bylaws by ACSA, AIA, or NCARB before August 25 will prevent the amendments from taking effect.
  • In June, again without advance consultation with ACSA and only limited discussion with the other collaterals, NAAB issued a proposal for a fee-based funding structure.  Like the bylaws changes, it rejected multiple tenets of the Path Forward recommendations. ACSA was not alone in expressing concern about the funding proposal, and the five collaterals agreed to spend another year seeking a funding solution that addresses those concerns.

We are pleased to report that one Path Forward Task Force recommendation is being pursued. The collaterals have established a five-collateral Education Coordinating Council (ECC) to explore and make recommendations to improve and coordinate the continuum of architectural education from K-12 through continuing education.  In the long run, we see the ECC as a forum for ACSA to help lead discussion and initiatives around education’s fundamental role for a better future.

Costs for Accreditation

In closing we want to explain NAAB’s overall funding structure and show how your ACSA dues are used to fund NAAB and to support ACSA’s accreditation-related activities. 

NAAB’s accreditation activities are funded solely by the collaterals. In 2016 this funding totaled $1,403,314:  $462,438 each from ACSA, AIA and NCARB, and $16,000 from AIAS. ACSA allocates money from Full and Candidate member dues to underwrite its NAAB contribution as well as the expenses of the ACSA board and staff to manage our relationship with NAAB—an effort that has increased substantially the past few years. (Over the years this allocation has been called a NAAB Assessment.) As the chart below shows, dues are set based on the size of the school, with a total of $4,756 of each school’s dues going toward accreditation activities and NAAB. This includes $3,557 per school for ACSA’s contribution to NAAB and $1,199 for additional ACSA expenses related to accreditation and to our advocacy role on behalf of member schools.

Should you have any questions about the Path Forward process or ACSA’s work in relation to NAAB, please contact President Bruce Lindsey ( or Executive Director Michael Monti ( 

Chart of ACSA Dues Allocations for Accreditation