The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools placed four colleges and universities on probation at its meeting this week and removed two others from the regional accreditor's most serious status short of withdrawing its approval.
Details about the actions by the association's Commission on Colleges will not be available until next month, when the commission makes its reports on individual institutions public. But according to Belle S. Wheelan, the commission's president, the Southern accreditor placed on probation Louisiana's Dillard University (for falling short of the group's standards on finances), Louisburg College (also for financial resource problems), the University of South Florida at St. Petersburg (for shortcomings related to student achievement and assuring that its students master college-level competencies) and Sherman College of Straight Chiropractic, for running afoul of a wide range of Southern guidelines related to integrity, academic freedom, governing board behavior, and the qualifications of its administrative and academic officers, among other things.
Officials at Louisburg said they had taken significant steps to improve the college's financial situation, which led to the Southern association placing it on warning last December, but that they still had to make progress to reassure the accreditor and get off probation by next December. “This is extremely good news for Louisburg College, but we have a lot of important work ahead of us to realize our goals of long-term financial stability and reaffirmation of our accreditation,” said the interim president, Rodney Foth.
Another institution, Paul Quinn College, in Texas, was continued on probation.
Wheelan said the Southern association also established a special committee to investigate governance concerns at South Carolina State University, which has faced charges of misspending of public funds, among other issues.
The news was better for two colleges that left the commission's list of colleges on probation. Florida A&M University, which had been on probation for a full year, and Criswell College, a religious institution in Texas, were taken off the association's list of troubled institutions.
Two other institutions, Central Carolina Community College and the University of Miami, were taken off warning status, while Hinds Community College, in Mississippi, was placed on warning status.