Students attending a ceremony at Bennett College, Greensboro, North Carolina.

Bennett College Regains Temporary Accreditation After Lawsuit

Dr. Phyllis Worthy Dawkins, President of Bennett College.

Greensboro, NC – Bennett College has been granted temporary accreditation after suing its accreditor, the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).

SACSCOC said the college needed to raise $5 million by Feb. 1 to retain its accreditation. The school was able to surpass its initial goal in six weeks by raising $9.5 million in total. However, despite the success of the fund-raising campaign, the SACSCOC was not convinced.

SACSCOC, based in Decatur, Ga., accredits nearly 800 public and private colleges and universities in 11 southern states. Its decision on Bennett came at the end of its annual meeting in New Orleans.

Students attending a ceremony at Bennett College, Greensboro, North Carolina.

“Our fight continues,” said Bennett president (and Asheville native) Dr. Phyllis Worthy Dawkins. “The accreditation process can be slow and even disappointing at times. The negative decision by [the SACSCOC] to remove Bennett from membership will not disrupt the daily operations of the college. We will continue educating our young women to become analytical thinkers, effective communicators, and phenomenal leaders. We urge everyone to keep the faith and know that Bennett College is standing strong.”

Without accreditation, U.S. colleges and universities can accept no federal funds—no Pell Grants, no federal student loans, no work-study dollars—to cover tuition, fees, and other student expenses. Colleges that lose accreditation will shrink substantially or close entirely. Notable HBCUs that have lost accreditation include Morris Brown College in Atlanta, Barber-Scotia College in Concord, NC, and Knoxville College in Knoxville, Tennessee. All three institutions still remain open, but struggle with enrollment.

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