Norfolk State University is facing uncertainty following action by its accrediting agency placing it on a one-year probation due to concerns about its finances, its governance and its full-time faculty, among other identified problems.
The accreditor, the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC), took the action after review of monitoring reports and financial statements. Maintaining accreditation is an essential part of an institution being recognized by the U.S. Department of Education and its students being eligible for federal financial aid.
The University announced that it will host a SACSCOC Special Committee On-Site visit in the fall 2015 to demonstrate its compliance with the Principles of Accreditation—the accreditation standards of the Commission.
In an FAQ document
released to the public, Norfolk State officials assured students that the school would not lose accreditation, stating in part, "While the action taken by the SACSCOC to place NSU on probation is very serious, the institution continues to be accredited. The NSU Board of Visitors and administration are fully committed and prepared to implement all of the necessary corrective actions to satisfactorily address the cited compliance areas of concern."
In addition, Norfolk State stated that responsibility for maintaining accreditation ultimately rested with its president, Eddie N. Moore, Jr., stating, "The President has the primary responsibility for ensuring that the university maintains its accreditation. The Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs is responsible for managing the SACSCOC accreditation process."
The school of more than 6,000 students is currently celebrating its 80th anniversary.
In a disclosure statement
released announcing its placement of Norfolk State on probation, the SACSCOC explained that probation "is the most serious sanction, short of loss of membership" that the accrediting body can impose upon a member.
In December 2015, "The SACSCOC Board of Trustees will consider the accreditation status of Norfolk State University following review of financial statements and a Second Monitoring Report submitted by the institution addressing the standards cited above for non-compliance, and the report of a Special Committee that will visit the institution in fall 2015. The Board will have the following options: (1) remove the institution from Probation without an additional report; (2) continue accreditation for good cause and continue Probation, request an additional report, and authorize a special committee visit; and (3) remove the institution from membership with SACSCOC for failure to comply with the standards or failure to meet the provisions of good cause. Commission staff will not speculate on what decision might be made by the Commission’s Board in December 2015."
If you are a student, recent graduate or other individual with a concern about the implications or reasons surrounding Norfolk State's probation with its accreditor that you wish to share with an attorney at College Watchdogs, you may do so here
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