Alabama State University’s Accreditation Status in Jeopardy
School officials say citation is unfairMONTGOMERY, Ala.
Already in trouble with a sanctioning organization because of its financial reporting, Alabama State University could lose accreditation unless it adopts new accounting practices.
The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, or SACS, lowered Alabama State’s accreditation status in June for failing to address accounting problems and not adopting a new format for financial reports.
In a July 3 letter from James Rogers, the group’s executive director, the commission warned that accreditation could be taken from Alabama State in December without changes.
Alabama State officials say the decision to downgrade the school’s accreditation status in June was an unjust mistake.
“Clearly, we believe the committee reviewing Alabama State has erred,” wrote Dr. Joe Lee, Alabama State’s president, in a letter last month.
Alabama State was placed on warning last year for failing to provide a year-end audit in a timely manner. The school was removed from warning in December 2001, but it had to provide follow-up reports.
Part of SACS’ criticism centers on Alabama State’s failure to adopt a new accounting standard that would provide a longer-term view of its finances. New statements must include all long-term debts and assets, not just transactions for a certain year. The statements also force government bodies to note costs to maintain or replace big-ticket items such as vehicles, computers and buildings.
Alabama State officials said it is unfair for the SACS to cite them for not complying with the new standards because they do not have to do so until Sept. 30, the end of the current fiscal year. In a request for further review, the college included information from its auditors to show the school was working to adopt the new rules.
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