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Georgetown College, Kentucky Wesleyan among schools still on regional accreditation probation


Kentucky Wesleyan and Georgetown (Ky.) College are among four small private colleges — along with one community college — that have been placed on probation by the regional accreditor for the southern United States.

The probations were announced last week at a meeting of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools. At the four private colleges, all of which have struggled in recent years, the accreditor cited concerns over financial management.

Spring Hill College and Kentucky Wesleyan College in Owensboro will be on probation for six months, while Centenary College in Louisiana and Georgetown College will be on probation for 12 months. Angelina College, a community college in Texas, will also be on probation for 12 months.

Kentucky Wesleyan and Georgetown (Ky.) College are among four small private colleges -- along with one community college -- that have been placed on probation by the regional accreditor for the southern United States (Georgetown College Photo)

Kentucky Wesleyan and Georgetown (Ky.) College are among four small private colleges — along with one community college — that have been placed on probation by the regional accreditor for the southern United States (Georgetown College Photo)

Georgetown, a private Christian college in Georgetown, Ky., has been struggling for years. Facing a $4 million deficit and declining enrollment in 2014, the institution announced that it would cut 20 percent of its faculty, end four majors and cut employee and retiree benefits, according to a report in the Lexington Herald-Leader at that time.

Jim Allison, assistant v.p./communications for Georgetown College, told KyForward that use of the 2014 information makes it appear that “Georgetown College is currently taking these actions. These actions were taken in 2014 at the time the article appeared.

“The current 12-month sanction of probation is an acknowledgement of the good progress the College has demonstrated since 2014 . . .and evidence suggests the College will remedy all issues within the 12-month period.

“Over the past three years the College has increased freshman enrollment by 17 percent. Indications are that the fall 2016 entering freshman class will be the largest in five years.”

Allison said the College will be working through the coming academic year with a balanced budget.

“Over the past two years, Georgetown has significantly strengthened its enrollment and financial positions, but another year of improvements is needed before the accreditation situation can be fully cleared” Georgetown president Dwaine Greene wrote on the college website. “Arriving at that conclusion, at its meeting on June 16, 2016, the SACSCOC Board of Trustees assigned Georgetown the sanction of ‘Probation’ for 12 months. The sanction was not unexpected, since the College clearly understands the expectations of its accrediting body, and fully intends to comply with those expectations.”

Spring Hill, a private Roman Catholic college in Mobile, Ala., was hit hard during the recession, when its endowment dropped by around 30 percent. “Our budget was built on returns from that endowment,” former college president Richard Salmi told AL.com at the time. And last year, Spring Hill was one of the 556 colleges flagged by the Department of Education due to financial concerns.

Kentucky Wesleyan was also on the Education Department’s list. And back in 2011, it had some of the lowest average salaries for full-time assistant professors in the country.

Centenary College, a private institution in Shreveport, La., also struggled during the recession, cutting 25 jobs — a full 15 percent of the administration, according to The Advocate. The college also moved from the NCAA’s Division I to Division III and increased tuition expenses by 29 percent.

But the fifth institution — Angelina College, a community college in Lufkin, Tex. — was not cited for financial concerns. Instead, it was placed on probation for failing to meet standards related to educational programs, institutional effectiveness and integrity. The college did not respond to requests for comment.

At its meeting, SACS also took three colleges — the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Bluefield College and South Carolina State University — off probation. Another three colleges — Virginia State University, Alabama State University and Galen College of Nursing — were taken off warning.

North Carolina, one of the more high-profile cases, was originally placed on probation after reports of widespread academic fraud involving student athletes. The university was placed on probation for a year, and since then it has been working to ensure compliance with accreditation standards.

From Inside HigherEd.com


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