PC(USA)-based Barber-Scotia College Looses Accreditation, Financial Aid

( [email protected] ) Jul 26, 2004 08:54 PM EDT

The Presbyterian Church (USA)-related Barber-Scotia College (BSC) announced that it would not appeal last month’s revocation of accreditation because of the low chance of winning the expensive appeal.

“We’ll do what’s necessary to get back on the right track,” said Gloria Bromell-Tinubu, President of BSC “We really believe ... things will be put back in place. The school will live up to its potential.”

Tinubu became president of the 137-year old historically black college on June 17 – a week before officials learned that the school’s accreditation had been revoked.

Once a school looses its accreditation, its students are ineligible to receive financial aid. According to the Presbyterian Church (USA), some 90 percent of the student body relies on financial aid to pay for tuition.

Therefore, Tinubu initially considered appealing the June 24 decision of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS) - a choice offered for only 10 days after the revocation – since students would receive aid during the time the appeal is pending.

However, Tinubu said such an appeal, which cost $15,000 average, is seldom successful. To win the case, BSC would have to show that the SACS violated procedures, or that its decision was arbitrary.

“We figured, Why not use our resources to go ahead and get back on track, rather than fighting what would be a losing battle?” said Tinubu.

While Tinubu declined to detail the school’s debt, she said the campus is planning to launch a $6 million campaign for student scholarships next year.

“Right now we’re proposing to give students 80 percent (of expenses) in the form of scholarship funds, have them work off (an additional) 10 percent ... (and) the remaining 10 percent would have to come out of their pocket,” said Bromell-Tinubu. “At the end of the year, if we’re successful with that, they won’t have a debt.”

Tinubu said the school would be running in its regular semester-year, which begins August 25, and will strive to be accredited again as soon as possible.

“Our hope is that we will be able to have our ducks in a row to be a candidate for membership by this time next year,” she said. “Once we’re a candidate, we’re then eligible for the federal funds again.”

According to the executive director of SACS’s Commission on Colleges James T. Rogers, the decision to revoke PSB”s accreditation was based on “a fundamental issue of integrity” – some 30 students in the PSB program had not fulfilled the proper requirements before graduating.

“It was a series of things, but primarily it had to do with what happened with grade changes, and degrees being offered without students having completed work, and that sort of thing,” Rogers said.

To make up for the loss of funding, Tinubu said some of the college’s 26 full-time employees would be laid off.

“Some of the cuts that we’re doing now should have been cuts before, because we really didn’t have the student enrollment necessary in some of these majors to justify the expenses associated with faculty salary,” she said.

Tinubu said she is hopeful of the college’s future, especially since the Tom Joyner Foundation announced it would provide $500,000 in scholarships.

“I am supposed to be here at this time and at this point in the college’s history,” she said. “I really believe that everything is in divine order. Things are as they should be, and we’ll be where we need to be.”

BSC was established by the PC(USA) in 1867 as a seminary for the daughters of slaves.