South Carolina’s only public historically-black college will remain on probation for another year, the school announced Thursday.
However, the announcement was seen as good news by South Carolina State University leaders who had been afraid the school could lose its accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS).
“We have good news,” interim president Dr. W. Franklin Evans announced in a statement. “SC State University is open for business and we are here to stay.”
SACS has not yet posted its decision, but has notified school leaders. The group had placed SC State on probation last year over uncertain leadership and struggling finances. SC State still faces a looming $20 million deficit that it must address over the next year. State lawmakers also replaced the school’s entire board of trustees last month with a smaller version in hopes to eliminate strife among school leaders. The board will be tasked with finding the school’s fourth president in four years.
A five-member delegation had traveled to Virginia to meet with the accreditation group earlier this week. Evans said 90% of the committee’s questions dealt with financial issues and only one question focused on the quality of academic programs. “My response highlighted the many national accreditations of specific programs of study, the credentials of the faculty and the excellence of our teaching and learning, affirming that the academic quality and reputation of South Carolina State University are very strong,” he said in the statement.
SC State is also still at-risk to lose its accreditation next year if SACS does not feel enough progress has been made to improve the school’s finances. Enrollment for the upcoming fall has also declined by almost a third since September 2014, amid reductions in financial aid and state legislators’ threats to potentially close the school if things do not improve.
SACS is expected to post details of its actions on the commission’s website by June 18th.