Paine College faces a recommendation that it lose accreditation for not meeting financial standards, a loss that would make the small private historically black college in Augusta, Ga. ineligible for federal funding at a time when it has already struggled.
The college will appeal the recommendation, it said Thursday evening, according to WTVM. Paine announced its plan to appeal after the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges said earlier Thursday that the college had not satisfied deficiencies in three areas, according to The Augusta Chronicle. Those areas are financial resources and stability, financial stability, and control of sponsored research/external funds. Paine has been on probation since 2014.
A loss of accreditation and ensuing ineligibility for federal funds would be a major blow to Paine, which lists its head count at 534 students. More than 95 percent of its students receive financial aid. It has also suffered financial losses in recent years, with The Augusta Chronicle reporting a loss of $2.9 million in assets through the end of 2014 and its draw on a line of credit increasing to $5.4 million. Late in 2015, Paine was unable to make payroll for employees. Early in that year it suspended its football program as it sought to shore up its financials.
President Samuel Sullivan has in recent months pushed to raise funds. But early this week he wrote that the college needed to raise $1 million by June 30 in order to meet immediate financial needs.
Paine will maintain its accreditation and federal funding through the appeal process, it said.
“We are confident that with our submission of additional evidence regarding the strategy to improve financial conditions at the college, our appeal will be successful,” Sullivan said in a statement. “Now, more than ever, is the time for the public to give to Paine College to ensure that the college is financially solvent. As we move forward, we will make adjustments in the college’s budget to reflect the institution’s needs while reducing expenditures.”
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