Bennett Accreditation Revoked, Saint Augustine’s Removed from Probation

North Carolina’s Bennett College for Women, plagued by years of declining enrollment and financial hardship today announced its intent to appeal a decision from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools’ Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC) to revoke its accreditation, while other institutions facing similar money woes were reaffirmed by the oversight agency.

Bennett officials told the Greensboro News & Record that the school will remain fully accredited during its appeal period, which will give the college until Feb. 18 to show additional proof of financial stability.

“The door’s not closed all the way yet,” (Bennett President Phyllis Worthy) Dawkins said.

In March, Dr. Dawkins discussed the college’s fundraising efforts, which were bolstered in July when Bennett was named among a handful of institutions to receive a deferment of loan payment obligations to the U.S. Department of Education.

Saint Augustine’s University, which a few months ago was at the center of controversy when leaked executive documents revealed strained revenue outcomes and disagreement among university trustees about the future of the institution, was removed from probationary status during the SACSCOC annual meeting.

University officials credited the Episcopal Church for its support and advocacy during the review period.

“I am extremely pleased that Saint Augustine’s University has been removed from probationary status,” said Dr. Everett B. Ward, Saint Augustine’s president. “The SACSCOC decision underscores that the SAU turnaround strategy with support from alumni, faculty, students and community partners is moving the University forward.”

“I would like to especially highlight and thank the Episcopal Church for its unwavering support. From Presiding Bishop Michael Curry’s letters and encouragement to the Church’s HBCU Committee and their consultants’ foundational, administrative, and advisory support, and to all who offered gifts of prayer as well as financial contributions.”

Florida A&M University, Johnson C. Smith University, Tuskegee University, and Virginia State University were granted full reaffirmation during the SACSCOC annual meeting.

“This is a testament to the hard work and preparation of our faculty, staff, and students,” said FAMU President Larry Robinson. “I would like to thank SACSCOC, FAMU’s Board of Trustees, our SACSCOC Leadership Team and all stakeholders in Tallahassee and campuses in Crestview, Jacksonville, Miami, Orlando and Tampa for their support throughout this rigorous process. This is an example of the collaborative spirit and great achievement, and outcome that we want each and every time.”

“Johnson C. Smith University has been a beacon in higher education for 151 years,” said JCSU President Clarence D. Armbrister. “We are gratified the quality of our educational programs, faculty and leadership has again been recognized and that our accreditation has been reaffirmed.”

“This is outstanding news and a testament to the commitment and teamwork demonstrated by Tuskegee University’s collective campus community,” President Lily D. McNair said. “Maintaining accreditation validates for our students, alumni, and partners that Tuskegee is committed to providing high-quality academic programs, and to adhering to strict institutional standards related to integrity, effective governance, financial sustainability, and appropriate student support services.”

“Accreditation is a very important confirmation of a university’s academic stature and quality of academic programs and student services,” said VSU President Makola M. Abdullah. “This affirmation speaks volumes of the dedication of our Board of Visitors, administration, faculty, and staff in providing our students with a quality, transformative education. I commend and applaud Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Donald E. Palm, III, Associate Vice Provost for Academic Affairs and Executive Director for Institutional Effectiveness Tia Minnis, Ph.D., their team and the Trojan community for all that they do for Virginia State University.”