Paine College, the historically Black educational institution in Augusta, Georgia, has been in almost a decade-long battle to hold on to its status as an accredited institution of higher learning. But it appears that finally, the college has weathered the storm.
The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges first questioned Paine’s financial status in 2011 after it was reported that the college lost eligibility for a federal student loan program, had not returned unused financial aid for students who withdrew, and bounced many financial aid checks among other financial issues. After a two-year probationary period, SACSCOC voted to remove Paine’s accreditation in 2016. The college sued in response and obtained an injunction preventing the association from revoking accreditation until the suit was settled.
As the lawsuit worked its way through the courts, Paine’s accreditation remained in force. Earlier this year, Paine College was informed that the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed a lower court’s decision that ruled that the SACSCOC was justified in revoking the college’s accreditation.
But now the Transnational Association of Christian Colleges and Schools (TRACS) has advanced Paine College from candidate status to accreditation status. TRACS is recognized by the United States Department of Education as a national accrediting agency.
Cheryl Evans Jones, president of Paine College, stated that “TRACS’ decision to grant accreditation to Paine College is a testament to what we know to be true: Paine College is an extraordinary and exceptional institution doing extraordinary and exceptional work, changing lives for students, preparing them for service and leadership”.