Bethune-Cookman University (B-CU) a private historically Black university must close its $8 million budget deficit by March if it is to remain in operation, reported the Daytona Beach News-Journal. The school, founded in 1904, is currently in its second year of academic probation.
“2020 will be a pivotal year in history of B-CU,” President Dr. Brent Chrite wrote in a letter to alumni last week. “It will be the year our beloved university prepared to close its doors or it will be the year we turned a corner and began moving toward an exciting future.”
The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission of Colleges has requested that the school account for its operating deficit of $8 million by the time it submits its reaccreditation application in March. If unable to, B-CU will lose its accreditation and, thus, most of its federal funding— roughly $14.5 million in grants and financial aid that, Chrite said, the school cannot survive without.
Even with the 2020 enrollment down 20% from this time last year, Chrite said the school has no plans to eliminate any academic programs but is considering working with the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference to remove certain athletic programs. In addition, he requested the financial help of 15,000 alumni, stressing the importance of saving HBCUs.
In a Facebook post, he wrote, “While this is obviously serious, I have no doubt that we will prevail. I have full faith in our alumni community and I am excited about this institution’s future.””