By Randy Singleton
Community Affairs Correspondent
New Journal and Guide
Virginia State University, the historically Black university located in Petersburg, VA, has been placed on six months’ warning by its accrediting agency known as SACS (Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges). The sanction was announced Thursday (June 11) at the end of a board of trustees meeting in Portsmouth.
SACS president Belle S. Wheelan said via email that VSU was “found out of compliance with several of our standards so the board put them on warning.”
The issues came up as a result of the five-year report that is part of each member school’s 10-year reaffirmation of the accreditation process, said Wheelan. VSU was cited for being out of compliance with five standards involving adequate faculty numbers, academic program coordination, financial aid audits, procedures for addressing student complaints, and responsibility for the federal Title IV student financial-aid program.
In September, VSU will be required to submit a corrective action report, which will be reviewed by the SACS board in December. The board will also review in the same month the status of Norfolk State University, which was put on probation last December. The maximum time limit that an institution may be on probation is two years.
If SACS withdraws accreditation, an institution is in reality shut down because its students cannot receive state or federal financial aid. Saint Paul’s College, an HBCU in Lawrenceville, and Virginia Intermont College, a private school in Bristol, shut down after being placed on probation by SACS and then losing accreditation.
VSU interim president Pamela V. Hammond said in a statement that the warning will “not have a negative impact on the quality of our educational programs.”
Compiled from reports from the Associated Press and Richmond Times-Dispatch.