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Florida Memorial University, Miami’s Only HBCU, Will Hold Its Accreditation



When Florida Memorial University (FMU) was positioned on yearlong probation final summer season by its accrediting physique — a transfer precipitated by a large number of monetary points — some college, alumni, and college students feared it was the loss of life knell for the 142-year-old establishment, South Florida’s solely Historically Black College and University (HBCU).

In November, FMU introduced quite a few measures to stabilize its funds, resembling decreasing worker salaries, discontinuing 16 diploma packages, and eliminating 15 college positions (together with no less than 4 tenured professors).

Though drastic, the technique seems to have labored: As of Thursday, June 16, FMU’s accreditation company, the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC), has eliminated the college from probation, permitting FMU to take care of its accreditation.

“It’s a burden lifted. It’s truly a reason to celebrate,” FMU spokesperson Sharee Gilbert writes in an e mail to New Times. “As you know, in order to reach this moment, it took a lot of hard work. We are most appreciative to our Board of Trustees, faculty, staff, students, and stakeholders for their sacrifices and support during this difficult process.”

In July 2021, SACSOC positioned FMU on yearlong probation, threatening to revoke its accreditation if the varsity didn’t adequately tackle its lack of “financial responsibility” and failure to adjust to financial-aid program duties. The fee imposed a deadline of June 2022.

In April, Gilbert says, the SACSCOC assessment committee visited FMU’s campus and concluded that FMU “met and fully satisfied all standards.” On June 14, a process drive from the varsity traveled to Tampa and met with SACSCOC’s board of trustees, a gaggle of roughly 77 directors and teachers from numerous Southern faculties and universities. Following the assembly, the board voted to carry FMU’s probation.

“This is an opportunity for growth,” Gilbert says. “Now we can continue on as an institution. FMU is financially stable, academically sound, and continues ascending to excellence.”

SACSCOC accredits faculties throughout 11 southern states, together with 72 HBCUs, which as a gaggle have lengthy been underfunded in comparison with bigger and predominately white public establishments. A 2020 examine discovered that from 2012 to 2017, SACSCOC was greater than thrice as more likely to take opposed actions towards HBCUs than towards non-HBCUs. Over the previous twenty years, six HBCUs have closed, whereas a number of others stay open regardless of shedding their accreditation.

Had FMU been stripped of its accreditation, diplomas of scholars presently enrolled within the college might grow to be nugatory and the college may need misplaced entry to federal funding and financial-aid grants for college students. (Many HBCU college students depend on these grants, generally often known as Pell Grants, to pay for tuition and books.)

More broadly, shedding South Florida’s solely HBCU would probably be devastating for the area’s Black group. HBCUs have lengthy performed an important function in molding Black leaders and professionals. According to the United Negro College Fund, whereas HBCUs make up solely 3 % of the nation’s faculties and universities, they enroll 10 % of all African-American college students and produce almost 20 % of all African-American school graduates.

In a memo shared with the college group on Thursday, college president Jaffus Hardrick wrote that FMU is among the “largest employers in the area” and when the college succeeds, the group succeeds together with it.

“Today’s decision affirms the significance and impact of our university in continuing to provide access to a quality education for many deserving students,” Hardrick wrote. 




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