Magazine article Black Issues in Higher Education

Knoxville College Loses Accreditation; Accrediting Agency Warns University of Florida

Magazine article Black Issues in Higher Education

Knoxville College Loses Accreditation; Accrediting Agency Warns University of Florida

Article excerpt

The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools decided to remove Knoxville College from membership in December because the college had failed to comply with the association's criteria related to adequate financial resources, administrative processes and financial aid, said James T. Rogers, executive director of the association.

"We don't take this sort of action without a great deal of thought," Rogers said.

Knoxville has appealed the decision, and retains its membership while the appeal is heard.

"While the college still has financial difficulties, we feel that the progress that has been made over the past eighteen months or so was adequate for the commission to have extended our probationary status," said Dr. Roland A. Harris Jr., president of Knoxville. "With a little bit more time, even greater progress could have been made," he said.

"We are not out here trying to stage a big fight or a media blitz," Harris said. "We want to demonstrate to the commission that the decision should have been different and show an appeals commission that progress has been made."

Knoxville College, a historically Black college with an enrollment of about 460 students, is affiliated with the United Presbyterian Church. Its accreditation was probationary until the December meeting of the accrediting board.

The accrediting agency's Rogers said that the loss of accreditation means "in general a loss of public confidence" as well as the loss of all eligibility for federal financial aid funds.

Rogers said that the accrediting agency is "seeing the same problems with many small private colleges." With small budgets, he said, it is becoming increasingly difficult for colleges to recruit and retain quality faculty and keep technologically up-to-date. "All of this is causing more problems," he said.

Harris said that the loss of accreditation won't have any immediate effect "because as long as we are appealing we retain membership, although the perception can be damning."

He added, "We feel strongly that we can win an appeal, and if that happens we will be okay."

Harris said that although the college has had serious financial difficulties in the past, Knoxville finished last year with a $200,000 surplus, bringing its debt down to about $3 million. …

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