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Paine College, an HBCU in Augusta, Ga., is in danger of losing its accreditation.

The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges, which is responsible for Paine’s accreditation, voted on June 16 to revoke the HBCU’s status, citing financial instability. The college had been on probationary status for two years but failed to shore up its finances during that time, the Association stated.

If Paine loses its accreditation, its students will not be able to obtain federal aid. The HBCU’s president has said the school will appeal the decision.

“Although we respect their decision, we will pursue and avail ourselves of all appeal rights available to us,” President Samuel Sullivan said in a statement. “We are confident that with our submission of additional evidence regarding the strategy to improve financial conditions at the College, our appeal will be successful.”

The school will retain its accreditation until the Appeals Committee makes its determination in August. School officials say the time will allow the institution to work on solving the remaining deficiencies.

Paine supporters are now calling on the public—particularly the city of Augusta—to help the school become financially solvent.

“The city is literally in a position of saving Paine or letting Paine die,” former Paine historian and faculty member Mallory Millender told WJBF-TV, the local ABC affiliate.

Augusta Mayor Hardie Davis told the station while he is not willing to use taxpayer dollars to save Paine, he is willing to rally the private sector to help.

“To the degree that I can champion that cause with those folks in the business community and in the private sector I certainly think that’s an appropriate role for the mayor to serve in,” Davis said.

 

Zenitha Prince

Special to the AFRO