The Southern Association of Colleges and School’s Commission on Colleges has placed South Carolina State University in Orangeburg on accreditation probation. The university was placed on warning status a year ago due to financial concerns and problems with the university’s governance. After a review this spring, the accrediting agency found that the university was deficient in eight areas: financial resources, financial stability, control of finances, student financial aid, organizational structure, governance, qualified academic and administrative officers, and control of sponsored and external funds.
The university is facing a $13.6 million budget deficit and sought an emergency aid package from the state. But lawmakers only provided $6 million in loans to the university. The university’s financial problems have come about in part due to a more than 30 percent drop in enrollments since 2007.
The university has one year to fix its problems or it will face a second year of probation. If the issues have not been addressed sufficiently at the end of the second year of probation, the commission could strip the university of its accreditation. Students attending educational institutions without accreditation are not eligible for federal financial aid. About 80 percent of the students at South Carolina State University receive federal Pell Grant awards.