Graduate Students

Paul Quinn College, a Historically Black Institution in Texas, Loses Accreditation

June 26, 2009

Paul Quinn College lost its accreditation on Thursday, one of several actions taken by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.

The small, historically black Texas college had struggled for several years with financial and academic problems. The association’s Commission on Colleges had placed the institution on probation in 2007.

“They had made progress … but they ran out of time before they could come into compliance on everything,” Belle S. Wheelan, president of the commision, told The Dallas Morning News.

Paul Quinn had also failed the U.S. Department of Education’s test of financial strength, which examined financial statements from the college’s last fiscal year.

The college, which has 440 students, has said it would appeal. Without accreditation it could be forced to close, as students would be ineligible to receive federal financial aid.

In a column in The Dallas Morning News this month, the college’s president, Michael J. Sorrell, said the campus had made great strides.

“We have made tremendous progress in improving the financial condition of the college. Through strict budgeting practices and extreme fiscal accountability, for the first time in 10 years, our audit showed no findings of noncompliance,” he wrote.

In other actions, the Commission on Colleges took Texas Southern University, Dillard University, and the University of South Florida-St. Petersburg off of probation. Texas Southern had been placed on probation in December 2007 for financial problems.

Dillard University and the St. Petersburg campus had been put on probation last year for, respectively, financial reasons and problems related to tracking student achievement.

Also on Thursday, the commission placed Lambuth University on probation because of financial problems. —Beth McMurtrie

Update (6/27): This article originally stated erroneously that Texas Southern was placed on probation for failing to turn in curriculum data on time. The university’s probation was a result of financial problems.