Predominantly Black Martin University Placed on Probation by Accrediting Agency

MartinUMartin University in Indianapolis has a student body that is 94 percent Black. The university, founded in 1977, was named to honor the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and St. Martin de Porres, who worked with the poor in Peru in the 16th and 17th centuries and became the first biracial Catholic saint. The university experienced an unexpected drop in enrollments this past fall which produced a serious financial shortfall.

Now the North Central Association’s Higher Learning Commission, the regional accrediting authority, has placed the university on probation. The accrediting board stated that the university was in a “financially precarious position.”

The accrediting agency also criticized the university’s low retention and graduation rates. The latest data for Martin University reported to the U.S. Department of Education, shows a retention rate of 38 percent and a graduation rate of 11 percent. The commission’s report said the four-year graduation rate was 2.6 percent and the six-year rate stood at 14.3 percent.

The probation period will last until February 2015. At that time the accrediting agency will have the option of maintaining the probation, taking the university off probation, or stripping the university of accreditation. Students at educational institutions that lose their accreditation are no longer eligible for federal financial aid and about 90 percent of all students at the university receive such federal aid.

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