Located in Dallas, Texas, the HBCU Paul Quinn College has lost its accreditation and is on the brink of closing its door permanently after holding it down for the past 137 years.
For those that don’t know, the HBCU was the school featured in the biographical film The Great Debaters with Denzel Washington in 2007.
To those that are unaware, when a school loses accreditation, students are still able to attend the university or college. In Texas, however, although this point is still intact, the schools are unable to award diplomas to the students and they cannot receive federal or state financial aid.
This school of higher learning enrolls close to 440 students and credits itself with being the oldest HBCU in Texas.
On June 25, it was reported that the small college had lost its accreditation and was in danger of going through the process of being shut down as a result of financial problems and other variables. The college was given a time period of 10 days to appeal the decision by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.
Belle Wheelman, president of the organization, made reference to numerous variables which caused the decision to be made. The private liberal arts school’s debt and a lack of funding, planning, assessment and student learning were all factors cited by Wheelman. The school did not meet the standards for financial stability and assessments of outcomes for achievement which resulted in the final outcome.
Paul Quinn filed a notice on Monday that it will be appealing the decision that took away its accreditation. It was given a boost of encouragement, and will receive a pledge of $1.5 million by the close of August from the state’s Legislative Black Caucus. Paul Quinn School President Mike Sorrell stated that the funds would be able to help the college maintain the structure and provide it with the ability to last in the long run.
Sorrell had taken over at the driver’s seat at Paul Quinn around 2007 after it had already mounted various problems with enrollment being down and an endowment that shrunk less than $5 million. He immediately wanted to change the school’s image and tried to implement things such as a dress code, mandatory class attendance and cutting the Tiger’s football program. This saved close to $600,000 a year. Not even this was enough to keep the school going.
Texas Rep. Helen Giddings was responsible for pushing a meeting to be held Monday with the Black Caucus members, Quinn College leaders and others that are involved with the education process in Texas. Although she did not attend the school, she stated that some family members had previously taught there.
With the appeal being made, Paul Quinn can now hold on to its accreditation till its hearing in mid-August, according to accrediting agency’s guidelines.
In the fall, Paul Quinn College will be resuming classes and is expected to have 250 new freshmen, according to school officials.