January 10, 2024

Notice of Official Business Meeting, January 22, 7:00 pm Eastern, via Zoom

By, Mo Zell, FAIA

Notice of Official Business Meeting, January 22, 7:00 pm Eastern, via Zoom

Dear ACSA Members,

I am writing on behalf of ACSA’s Board of Directors to the heads and faculty councilors of ACSA’s full and candidate members to report that the board believes we have come to a dead end with our funding negotiations with NAAB. Heads of programs likely received an email from NAAB’s president announcing their intention to charge fees directly to programs. We do not support this decision, and are therefore calling an official member business meeting on January 22 at 7:00 pm Eastern on Zoom to consider a vote to reject NAAB’s financial proposal and consider a call for significant change to our profession’s educational accreditor. Register for the meeting.

ACSA, together with AIA, NCARB, and AIAS, have engaged in discussions with NAAB since June 2022 about extending our current funding arrangement. We received three funding proposals from NAAB. The first two (June and September 2022) were rejected by all four organizations that fund NAAB’s accreditation services. (To view our October 26 webinar summarizing the status of the negotiation and reviewing how NAAB is funded, please click here.)

The most recent proposal, sent on November 21, is the most extreme of the three. This proposal would

  • Allow NAAB to charge schools directly beginning in 2025

  • More than double the amount of funding schools would provide NAAB, and

  • Eliminate ACSA’s role as both conduit for funding and voice in any future funding negotiations, leaving schools unrepresented in the process

  • Increase the percentage of funding provided by schools for NAAB to 45% and drop the relative share coming from AIA and NCARB to 27% each. (Since 2006 it has been 33% each.)

We are particularly concerned that NAAB is breaking a 17-year funding model and an 83-year organizational model that ties together educators, practitioners, and regulators.

The following chart documents NAAB’s three funding proposals as they would apply to schools. Also shown is what schools have contributed to NAAB through ACSA dues since 2019.

The financial proposal NAAB sent to schools on January 9 is alarming, because NAAB plans to more than double the amount of revenue collected from schools ($426,411 in 2023, $864,502 in 2025). It also includes a 7% increase in funding from schools from 2025 to 2026. Under the proposal there would also be no oversight or other control over what NAAB would charge schools.

ACSA values accreditation for our member schools. We value having an independent organization that can develop and implement standards for accreditation that reflect the input of the broader discipline and profession. However, we do not agree with NAAB that the 2020 Conditions for Accreditation necessitate additional staff and financial resources or broader scope to their work. Increasing costs for accreditation were never discussed during the 2019 Accreditation Review Forum. Rather, streamlining accreditation was emphasized.

Moreover, NAAB’s revenue needs increased even after their June 2022 proposal requested a 47% increase and during a negotiation process that has included the participation of a neutral facilitator. Their unwillingness to compromise with the sponsoring organizations and work within a budget signals mismanagement and a sense of monopolistic avarice.

We have said in our presentations to the membership this fall that we continue to oppose an increase in the costs of accreditation as well as a reduction in the support from the profession. Moreover, we have asked our members to support our role as the collective voice for schools in the accreditation process: from the Accreditation Review Forum, to board participation, to the authorization to negotiate funding through the previously agreed MOU process.

We invite your feedback by email (president@acsa-arch.org) and strongly encourage your attendance at the January 22 business meeting. Any member of your faculty may attend the meeting. However, as this is an official business meeting, we will track each official representative of our Full member schools in case any formal votes are taken.


Mo Zell, ACSA, AIA
ACSA President