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NCCU Degrees Granted Through Ga. Megachurch Deemed Valid

The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACS) has confirmed the validity of 25 North Carolina Central University degrees awarded to students who completed their academic coursework at New Birth Missionary Baptist Church in Georgia. The church had not been approved by the University of North Carolina system as a NCCU satellite campus.

“It is my judgment that, though the site was not reported to the Commission on Colleges, and when it was, was deemed unacceptable, that the students who earned their degrees from the university at that site did indeed receive a comparable education.  Further, since the Commission accredits institutions and not sites, this documentation supports my belief that the University’s granting of these degrees is appropriate,” wrote Belle Wheelan, president of the accrediting agency SACS, in a letter Tuesday to NCCU Chancellor Charlie Nelms.

“We are certainly very pleased with the Commission’s decision and what it means for those who have already completed their degrees,” said Nelms.  “We will continue to work closely with the Commission, as well as with UNC system officials in the coming weeks, to bring further resolution to students in Georgia who are still in the process of completing their degree requirements.”

The New Birth program began in 2004 and ended in June when the SACS refused to authorize it.

 “From the day this unapproved program was shut down, our first priority has been doing right by the affected students,” said UNC system president Erskine Bowles. “This is an important step forward in resolving the issues associated with the creation and operation of this program.”

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