In a special meeting of the board of governors of the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education, historically Black Cheyney University received a major boost in its efforts to stay open. The board agreed to forgive $30 million in loans on the condition that the university maintain a balanced budget over the next four years. It is hoped that the loan forgiveness will satisfy the university’s accreditation agency that it is financially viable. The university must submit its financial recovery plan to the accrediting agency by September 1.
The roots of historically Black Cheyney University of Pennsylvania go back to 1837 but it did not grant its first bachelor’s degrees until 1932. It joined the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education as a charter member in 1983.
In recent years, the university has experienced financial difficulties due to a drop in enrollments. Since 2010, the 14 campuses of the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education have seen a 12 percent drop in enrollments. At Cheyney, the drop has been much greater. Enrollments were down 53 percent from 2010 to 2016. There are now fewer than 700 students on campus. The university must close a $7 million budget shortfall.