One day after internal documents detailing financial and infrastructural issues challenges at Saint Augustine’s University were published in the HBCU Digest, university president Everett Ward says that the school is “alive and well,” and prepared to resolve its accreditation issues this fall.
saint augustine's university
Executives, consultants and staff members at Saint Augustine’s University (SAU) have growing concern about the future of the school, privately fearing that it is unlikely to pass an upcoming accreditation site visit from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC), and that its third negative review in three years may close the 151-year-old institution for good.
We discuss Morehouse College’s separation from Papa John’s, and the opportunities and challenges of leading HBCU campuses and Black Greek Lettered Organizations.
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Tennessee State University President Glenda Baskin Glover was last night installed as the 30th International President of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Inc. during the organization’s international conference in Houston.
A few weeks ago, the University of Massachusetts System made headlines when it allowed its flagship campus in Amherst to buy a cash-strapped private liberal arts school, Mount Ida College, for $75 million and an extra $11 million to satisfy the outstanding debts which would’ve sent the college into bankruptcy without the purchase.
The deal will convert Mount Ida into an undergraduate workforce development extension of the Amherst campus, which enrolls more than 30,000 students. It drew criticism from stakeholders of its sister campus, UMass-Boston, which has struggled in recent years to sustain enrollment and to survive massive budget cuts.
The fight for UMass-Boston got even harder this week, when system officials announced that the school’s presidential search would be indefinitely postponed after the three finalists for the position, two of them African Americans, all withdrew from the search following extensive criticism from faculty.
Basically, it is a metropolitan campus waging war against a system for building up its flagship campus, while its most diverse campus languishes from a lack of resources and perceptions of disrespect.
The story is important because public higher education systems across the country are concerned with saving money and building preeminence to compete for students, grants and contracts, and branding. It is critical for HBCUs because if it grows as a common practice among other systems, it could mean easier paths to the consolidation of HBCUs and predominantly white institutions, or struggling private HBCUs making deals to satisfy debts and to pay off executive stakeholders.
HBCUs with low enrollment and high debts are at risk for states’ merger considerations and deal making from private investors. And not surprisingly, many of the cities and counties where struggling HBCUs are located are among the fastest-growing areas for residential and commercial real estate.
St. Augustine’s University has cut dozens of positions, sold and leased campus properties and has seen enrollment drop by more than 500 students since 2012. It is in the second year of accreditation probation for problems with finance and institutional effectiveness. At the same time, Raleigh has emerged as a thriving market for commercial and residential real estate development. From the News & Observer:
Since 2014, an average of 1 million square feet of office has been built each year, a rate that puts the Triangle on pace to exceed 50 million square feet of space by 2020, putting it on par with the amount available in Charlotte, said Paul Hendershot, director of research for the Carolinas.
On top of that surge in office construction, more than 13,000 apartment units are expected to be built by 2020 to absorb all of the new transplants attracted to the area for jobs. Local officials often cite the fact that 63 people are moving to Wake County per day and 20 to Durham. That growth has brought a lot of change to the area and will continue doing so for the foreseeable future.
Stillman College faces an extraordinary uphill battle in securing financial stability, but Tuscaloosa’s economic development prospects are booming in large part because of growth at the nearby University of Alabama. From the Tuscaloosa News:
With UA’s student enrollment jumping from about 33,000 in 2015 to almost 40,000 in 2017, construction of student housing and apartment projects hasn’t slowed down.
Currently, the development called “My House on the 50” — a 44-units, 155-bed development with four stories of apartments and 2 stories of above-grade parking is under construction at Frank Thomas Avenue and Eighth Street.
And The Hub at Tuscaloosa, a 188-unit, 485-bedroom development that’s expected to reach almost 75 feet in height is now going up on Red Drew Avenue just off the Strip.
Flagship institutions are no longer competing with smaller niche schools or even fellow campuses within their own systems. They are buying them or buying everything around them to expand their geographic imprint, in order to compete with other states in the race to be one of the 1000 or so campuses that will likely survive the bursting of the higher education bubble.
Private schools like St. Augustine’s and Stillman, for all we know, may have already struck deals for loans or consolidation or buyouts with larger institutions, developers, or cities to annex their land and facilities upon the announcement of an accreditation revocation, or a capital loan default.
Schools like Cheyney University, Elizabeth City State University and even Fisk University are in prime real estate markets and surrounded by aggressive public systems of higher education, with players from both worlds waiting for trustees and/or legislators to say ‘yes’ to the right number to transform hundreds of years of black history into multi-million dollar investment properties.
UMass-Boston may be hundreds of miles away, but its fate is right at the doorstep of several proud HBCUs.
Fayetteville State University is headed to the CIAA football championship courtesy of a rare win over Winston-Salem State University and a CIAA Southern Divison title. But do the Broncos have a claim to the title outright, or is it a shared accolade?
In another nail-biter, Darnell Walker (Charlotte, NC) crossed the goal line from one-yard out with 30 seconds remaining to tie the game at 22. David Lamb, who stayed calm and collected during the Rams timeout, kicked his third game-winner to send FSU to the championship game.
Fayetteville State University has inserted another historical note in the record books during its Sesquicentennial Celebration. The Broncos defeated Winston-Salem State 23-22 in Bowman Gray Stadium to take the CIAA Southern Division Title and a trip to the Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association Championship game.
While the Broncos claim sole ownership of the divisional crown with a perfect 5-0 record in south play, Saint Augustine’s University has billed itself as co-champions of the division by virtue of its identical overall conference record with FSU.
DURHAM, N.C. (Nov. 4) – Saint Augustine’s University capped the football regular season with a 31-14 victory over crosstown rival Shaw University at Durham County Memorial Stadium on Saturday to claim the Raleigh Classic Trophy and earn a share of the CIAA Southern Division crown.
The Falcons (5-5 overall) tied Fayetteville State University for first place in the division at 5-2, but the Broncos won their head-to-head matchup on Oct. 21 to reach the CIAA Championship Game. The season was still a success for the Falcons, who won a division title for the first time in recent memory after winning a combined three games in the previous two years. They also finished .500 or better overall for the first time since 2012.
Here’s a look at the official CIAA football standings.
FSU has a better overall record, a better divisional record and the head-to-head tiebreaker with St. Augustine’s. So it’s not immediately clear how the Falcons claim a divisional title outside of direct, divisional and overall conference metrics, but if they can claim it, some say it would be a major gain for the SAU program.
Gotcha. If you know like I know, that’s a HUGE deal for SAU. Definitely helps with morale and recruiting. @JLCS06 https://t.co/1uGcdpjAdK
The President Emerita of St. Augustine’s University recalls the school’s effort to save now-closed Saint Paul’s College, and the steps HBCUs must take now to preserve our most vulnerable campuses.
Talladega College students collect an annual average of $7,815 in scholarship aid, ranking third nationally among more than 250 private colleges and universities surveyed by the Student Loan Report for its annual list of the top aid-attracting campuses.
Other historically black colleges and universities also making the list include Tuskegee University (43), Saint Augustine’s University (82), Morehouse College (96), Texas College (147) and Florida Memorial University (167).
The average annual cost of a private four-year school now exceeds more than $33,000, and HBCU students accounted for more than $3.4 billion in federal student aid disbursements in 2013.
Two of North Carolina’s private historically black colleges have twelve months to demonstrate fiscal solvency to the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools’ Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC), which yesterday announced warning status designations for Bennett College and Saint Augustine’s University.
The two schools, both hard hit over the last three years by enrollment decreases caused by changes to federal student aid lending and economic hardships faced by families nationwide, were the only HBCUs to face status changes during the association’s winter meetings held earlier this month.
Virginia State University, which was placed on warning status last year, will remain with the designation for six more months.
In a release, Bennett President Rosalind Fuse-Hall said that the school anticipated the status change, but is currently in good fiscal standing by way of stabilized enrollment, and several years of unqualified audits.
“With the current enrollment of 512, Bennett College is able to meet its financial obligations. It is also important to note that Bennett College has had unqualified audits for the last four years, meaning its financial records and statements are fairly and appropriately presented,” said Dr. Fuse-Hall. “The college is weathering the aftermath of the financial recession, changes in federal financial aid policies and the dip in high school graduation rates. Despite these time of change, the board and I are confident that the college will stabilize and continue to provide education for the future and nurture sisterhood for life.”
Bennett and Saint Augustine’s remain fully accredited in all respects, and eligible for students to receive publicly subsidized financial aid.