On the Rebound, Cheyney U. Forms All-star Advisory Panel

Cheyney University, the nation’s oldest historically Black college, has recently taken steps to revitalize the institution’s academic program and strengthen its financial stability, the Philadelphia Inquirer reported in its Sunday edition.

Dr. John C. Cavanaugh, chancellor of the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education, which directs 14 universities including Cheyney, told the Inquirer that the school has made significant progress over the past year and is now focusing on academics after taking the necessary steps to address its financial status.

The institution is closing a $2 million deficit and in December presented a plan for improvement, including helping students on academic probation through a program called “Second Chance.”

The state plans to give the school $50 million from its construction fund to build a new residence hall.

The school had been reportedly underfunded after a federal civil rights settlement from 1997 had not been fulfilled, the report said.

Past and current problems, according to the report, included mediocre graduation and retention rates, “sloppy bookkeeping,” and repeated failure to collect tuition bills and distribute financial aid forms in a timely manner.

But, according to Cavanaugh, this past semester, bills were sent on time.

This past year, Cheyney received 5 percent more applications than last year. Many of these applications are submitted by students from Philadelphia’s underperforming  high schools, the report said. 

Later this week, the university’s board of trustees will announce formation of a new advisory panel, headed by former Howard President H. Patrick Swygert. Other members are Dr. Shirley A.R. Lewis, former president of Paine College, Dr. Michael L. Lomax, president and CEO of the United Negro College Fund and Dr. Leonard L. Haynes III, executive director of the White House Initiative on Historically Black Colleges and Universities, and Frank Pogue, interim president of Chicago State University. All five members will serve one year terms, the report said.



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