The Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools voted in June to drop Paul Quinn’s membership from the accrediting agency, citing shaky finances and sub-par student outcomes.
The Dallas liberal arts college can’t award degrees without accreditation. Additionally, students can’t receive federal or state financial aid.
An appeals committee ruled that the accrediting agency followed procedure and was “neither arbitrary nor unreasonable” in reaching its decision. The committee met in Atlanta last week to consider the appeal.
The Decatur, Ga.-based accrediting agency said in a news release that no more appeals were allowed, but Paul Quinn president Michael Sorrell said the college is considering legal options. An attorney for the college has said a lawsuit is among those options.
Sorrell said classes wouldn’t resume until October and that the college planned to pursue other methods of accreditation in the meantime. He said the college was trying to get the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board to issue a certificate that would make degrees valid in Texas.
“Under no set of circumstances are we closing, nor do we expect to be an institution that does not have the ability to grant degrees,” Sorrell said.
Sorrell was hired in 2007, about the same time the commission on colleges put Paul Quinn on probation for failing to comply with 23 standards. The list has since dwindled to three: financial stability, financial resources and institutional effectiveness, the latter related to student outcomes.
Fundraising and student retention have improved, said Sorrell, who implemented a business casual dress code and eliminated the football program as part of his effort to boost the school’s ratings.
“We believe fundamentally that we have met the standards for SACS,” Sorrell said.
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