Frequently Asked Questions

If your question is not found here or answered within Accreditation Resources, please contact PAB Staff.

Annual Report

The 2023 Annual Report due January 31, 2024 should be based on the 2023-2024 academic year. The student data should be as of December 31, 2023. The Faculty data should be current up to Spring 2024. For graduates from a previous academic year, it refers to 2022-2023.

Q: Where is the Annual Report Overview located?

The guidance document is located on the Reporting page and in Accreditation Resources. For a direct link, click here.

Q: What is the Reporting period for the Annual Report? Is it Calendar Year or Academic Year?

The Annual Report is based on the Academic Year which is defined as the fall session prior to the Annual Report due date, and ends in the year the report is due. Please note: the student composition data should be reported as of December 31 of the report year.

Q: What are the PAB Faculty categories?

  • Full-time in Planning Unit are tenured, tenure track, and non-tenure track faculty hired with multi-year contracts employed full-time by the University with a primary appointment in the planning unit.
  • Part-time in Planning Unit are tenured, tenure track and contract faculty from other academic departments in the University who teach: core courses required for the planning degree; courses in other departments required for planning specializations; and/or courses in other departments taken as an elective by a critical mass of planning students.
  • Adjunct and other instructional faculty are not employed full-time by the University, who teach specific courses on a course-by-course basis.

Q: Under the Student Enrollment section, what data should be used? (Example for 2023 Annual Report)

Number of Applications Reviewed for Admission – This data should be applicants reviewed in AY 2022-23 for Fall 2023.
Number of Applicants Admitted – This data should be for students admitted to the Fall 2023 class out of the applications reviewed above.
Number of New Students Admitted who Enrolled – This data should be for the amount of new students admitted above that enrolled in classes for Fall 2023.
Number of Total Students Enrolled – This data should include the number of new students enrolled above as well as any previously admitted students that enrolled for Fall 2023.
Retention Rate – This data should be the percentage of students who began studies in Fall 2022 and continued into Fall 2023.

Q: I am going through the accreditation process and recently submitted my Self-Study Report (SSR) which contains all this information. Do I still need to submit the Annual Report?

Yes. As a condition of accreditation, all accredited programs must complete the Annual Report. The Annual Report is the principal vehicle by which programs report Substantive Changes, and PAB collects demographic data on students and faculty.

Q: When is the Annual Report due?

The Annual Report is due January 31 every year. PAB will notify programs on December 1 of the prior year. If the report is submitted after January 31, a late fee will be assessed.

Q: The Annual Report requests I provide a link to document compliance with 1D, what is this?

The PAB standards contain Criterion 1D/Public Information which states the following:

The Program shall routinely provide reliable information to the public on its performance at least annually. Such information shall appear in easily accessible locations including program websites. In addition to the following information, programs are encouraged to showcase student achievement, however it may be determined.

1) Student Achievement: student achievement as determined by the program;
2) Cost: the cost (tuition and fees) for a full-time student for one academic year;
3) Retention and Graduation: student retention and graduation rates, including the number of degrees awarded each year, the percentage of first-year students who return in the 2nd year for graduate students and/or the percentage of students enrolled one year after declaring their major for undergraduate students, and the percentage of master’s students graduating within 4 years, and/or the percentage of bachelor’s students graduating within 6 years;
4) AICP Pass Rate: the percentage, based on the number who take it, of master’s graduates who pass the AICP exam within 3 years of graduation, and/or the bachelor’s graduates who pass the AICP exam within 5 years of graduation; and
5) Employment: the employment rate of all graduates in professional planning, planning-related or other positions within 1 year of graduation.

In order for PAB to verify program compliance with this criterion annually, we include this question in Part I for programs to share the direct link to this data from their website.

Q: In the Student Graduation Data section, what is meant by “entering class”?

Another way of reading entering class would be matriculating class. For example: The percentage of students who began their program in 2021 and graduated within 2 years (2023 the annual report year).

Q: Is the AICP exam pass rate calculated using the number of attempts or number of students that took the exam?

The AICP exam pass rate is the percentage of students that passed the exam out of the number of students that took the exam. For example: If a student fails the exam and passes it when it is retaken, that would count as one pass. The student should not be counted twice.

Q: How do I calculate the teaching FTE?

Divide the faculty member’s credit hours of teaching in the accredited program by the institution’s defined full-time teaching load.

If there are two accredited programs at the Institution, divide each faculty member’s teaching FTE between the two accredited programs.

Example Calculation: The Institution’s full-time teaching load equals 16 credit hours per academic year.
Faculty who teach in two accredited planning programs:
If Faculty member teaches 4 credit hours in the accredited bachelor’s program and 12 credit hours in the accredited master’s programs, then Faculty member’s teaching FTE would be as follows:
Accredited Bachelor’s = 4 / 16 credit hours = 0.25
Accredited Master’s = 12 / 16 credit hours = 0.75

Faculty who teach cross-listed courses:
If Faculty member teaches 8 credit hours in the accredited master’s program and 4 cross-listed credit hours (accredited master’s and unaccredited Bachelors or PhD), then Faculty member’s teaching FTE would be as follows:
Accredited Master’s = 12 / 16 credit hours = 0.75 FTE

Q: The student/faculty ratio in Part 4 is empty or displays “NaN”, why?

Please make sure that you have entered the correct total faculty teaching FTE in the appropriate box in Part 4. The total teaching FTE can be found the Faculty FTE section of the database. However, you must make sure that the faculty records in this section are current and reflect this reporting period’s teaching FTE.

Q: We have two faculty tracks, tenure and clinical. Tenure track faculty teach 9 credits per year with research/grant expectations, while the clinical faculty teach up to 20 credits per year without any research expectations. The clinical track is designed for teaching only. If teaching is the sole criterion, a clinical faculty member would be over the 1 FTE based on our definition of full-time teaching load.

No individual faculty member can be more than1 full-time equivalent. If any faculty member teaches an overload of courses, they should be represented as a 1 FTE; supplement with footnotes to explain the situation.

Q: Can I print a copy of the Annual Report?

Yes. You can right click on the page and select “Print” or click the “Print to PDF” button located on the top right corner. Additionally, the system will store all your Annual Reports beginning with the 2010 Annual Report, so you may access historical reports at your convenience.

Substantive Change

Q: What is a substantive change and why do I have to report it?
A substantive change is any organizational and/or programmatic change that may affect the Program’s ability to comply with one or more of the pre-conditions to accreditation, and/or any of the PAB accreditation standards and criteria.

Substantive Changes include, but are not limited to:

  • the withdrawal, or risk thereof, of institutional accreditation;
  • a change or variation in the name of the Program and/or Degree title;
  • a change or variation in the length of the Program (i.e. minimum of 2 and 4 years of full-time study for graduate and undergraduate degrees, respectively);
  • a change or variation in the Program’s primary focus;
  • a change in location or administrative unit for the Program;
  • a significant change in curriculum requirements and/or credit hours;
  • a significant change in the method of delivery of courses such that ≥25% of required credit hours are offered through distance, correspondence, or other alternate delivery;
  • the appointment of a program administrator or interim administrator who does not have tenure, or who does not have an educational background or substantial experience in planning;
  • an increase or decrease of 20% or more in the number of enrolled students;
  • a decrease of 20% or more in the number of teaching faculty;
  • a decrease of 50% or more of the number of minority or female faculty; and/or
  • a change in resources affecting the ability to deliver the Program, including the addition of a new degree program.

If PAB determines that a program may no longer be in substantial compliance with any accreditation standard, it may initiate an interim review to re-consider the accreditation decision.

If, at any time, PAB discovers a program has undergone a substantive and unreported change, it will request additional information from the Program along with a comprehensive report of any substantive changes that have occurred since the last accreditation review.

If a program fails to submit the requested report, or submits an incomplete or unsatisfactory report, the Board may, at its discretion, put the Program on probationary accreditation or terminate its accreditation.

PAB Facts

Q: What is the Planning Accreditation Board?
The Planning Accreditation Board (PAB) is an independent 501(c)3 organization that is responsible for the accreditation of undergraduate and graduate planning programs in the U.S. and Canada. Accreditation is a means of strengthening planning education and providing formal recognition that a program measures up to the profession’s high educational standards and is therefore qualified to train its future practitioners.

Q: Who is PAB?
PAB is jointly sponsored by the academy and the profession: The Association of Collegiate School of Planning (ACSP), the American Planning Association (APA), and its American Institute of Certified Planners (AICP). The PAB is an eight-member board comprised of four members appointed by ACSP, and four appointed by the APA and AICP. Board members are appointed for 3-year terms with a maximum service of 2 terms.  The eight positions are designated as followed:
– 3 planning educators (ACSP appointee)
– 1 higher education administrator (ACSP Appointee)
– 3 planning practitioners (AICP appointee)
– 1 public member (APA appointee)
The list of current members is found on the About Us page.
Q: How is PAB financially supported?
PAB is supported by two funding streams: Accredited programs pay annual fees to maintain their accreditation status; the annual fee paid by accredited programs is matched by an annual grant by the APA/AICP.

Q: What does the PAB do?
1. Develops standards for accreditation through a participatory process involving ACSP, APA/AICP, and the public.
2. Provides a vehicle for engaging practitioners and academicians in joint and ongoing deliberations regarding the roles, content and effectiveness of planning education.
3. Provides schools with an incentive for careful and thorough self-examination, and with constructive recommendations for improvement.
4. Provides assurances to prospective students, employers, and the public-at-large regarding the basic quality of accredited programs.
5. Set policies and procedures that guide the accreditation process.
6. Review programs for accreditation and applications for accreditation from non-accredited programs.
7. Maintains status annual reports from programs to ensure standards for accreditation are met.

Q: What is the PAB contact information?
Planning Accreditation Board
2334 W. Lawrence Avenue Suite 209
Chicago, IL 60625

Executive Director Jesmarie Johnson

Associate Director Jaclyn Hade

Technical Issues

Q: I forgot my username and password for the Annual Report. How do I get a new one?
Please email Jaclyn Hade, for your username/password or if you are experiencing technical difficulties within the annual report.

Q: How do I update my program’s contact information on the PAB website?
Please email updated contact information to Jaclyn Hade,