Southside Virginia college in danger of losing accreditation

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LAWRENCEVILLE, Va. (WTVR) – Saint Paul’s College, a liberal arts university in Southside Virginia, may be on the verge of losing its case for reaffirmation.

Saint Paul’s President Dr. Eddie Moore told faculty and staff after he was informed of the decision of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACS) Thursday morning.

“To say that we are disappointed is a terrible understatement,” Moore said in a news release. He said that the college will appeal the decision after receiving the formal notice on June 26 and the association’s Disclosure Statement two days later.

Moore said that the school is taking immediate action to inform incoming and returning students of the association’s decision. Moore said they will notify all students by June 28, so students can make a decision whether to return to Saint Paul’s or transfer to another institution in case the school loses its appeal.

The college’s Board of Trustees will meet soon to weigh its options.

If the school loses its appeal, it will no longer be a member of the association which accredits colleges and universities.

Loss of accreditation would mean that students would no longer be able to obtain federal student loans to attend Saint Paul’s and most employers would not recognize new degrees from the college for hiring purposes as a number of employers require a degree from an accredited institution. It also would mean that the school could not issue degrees.

Without federal funding the students receive when they enroll at the school, the school it could close due to a lack of funding.

The college had been plagued with issues, according to the association’s 2011 statement.  

St. Paul’s had a number of financial issues including financial resources, stability and control.  More said that “to have raised $5 million in six months despite the challenges before us, and effected managerial and strategic turn-around. Imagine what we could do if allowed to continue reaffirmed.”

St. Paul’s had done a number of things to save money, including eliminating athletic programs.

The association also found issues with its academic and administrative personnel. According to the association report, it had issues with Qualified Administrative/Academic Officers, Institutional Effectiveness: Administrative Support Services, and Institutional Effectiveness: Educational Support Services.

The association placed Saint Paul’s on probation in 2010.  It continued the institution’s probation last year and gave the college a full year to correct its issues. 

The college received a visit from a special committee of the association this past Spring.

Saint Paul’s have been operating since 1888 and is a Historical Black College or University (HBCU) and is affiliated with the Episcopal Church.

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