Officials at South Carolina’s only public historically-black college are now much more confident in the school’s future after a regional accreditation group lifted its probation Thursday.
The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools’ (SACS) Commission on Colleges Thursday restored SC State’s membership. SC State was put on probation in 2014 due to ongoing financial troubles. SACS continued that probation last year as the school’s leadership changed and state lawmakers provided $18 million in loans and emergency grants to get SC State’s budget balanced.
“Over this year, we moved from life support to intensive care,” Interim SC State President W. Franklin Evans told students and supporters Thursday while making a medical metaphor. “But after the (SACS) committee came in April, I think we were moved up and upgraded to critical care. But… I stand before you today to say we have been released from the hospital.”
Continuing probation a third year was not an option. The commission’s only other choice, revoking accreditation, would have meant students could no longer qualify for federal financial aid. State legislators had worried such a move could have resulted in the school’s closure.
In corrective action last year, legislators fired SC State’s entire governing board and appointed temporary members charged with making the school solvent.
As of December, the board cut $19 million from the budget and eliminated about 200 jobs.