This past June, the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC) voted to strip historically Black Paine College in Augusta, Georgia, of its accreditation. Paine College had been on probation for the previous two years and the accrediting agency was not satisfied with the progress the college was making to insure its financial stability.
Paine College appealed the decision and the college’s accreditation remained intact during the appeals process. But the college was recently informed that the appeal was rejected. Without accreditation, students at Paine College will be ineligible for federal financial aid programs. Currently, about 95 percent of Paine College students participate in federal financial aid programs.
The college immediately stated that it would file a suit against the accrediting agency and asked the federal court to stay the loss of accreditation until the suit is heard in court. On September 19, the court agreed to a preliminary injunction. So, for now, Paine College is still accredited.
Samuel Sullivan, president of Paine College, said that “this was not a review process that was governed by standards of due process. Although we presented abundant evidence that we had satisfied the issues SACSCOC identified, SACSCOC chose to ignore such evidence. Fortunately, SACSCOC does not have the last word. We believe that a court of law, following standards of due process which are guaranteed by federal law but completely absent from our proceedings before SACSCOC, will vindicate our position and ultimately order our SACSCOC accreditation restored.”