Paine College moves forward after another accrediting body grants the historically black college candidacy. It’s news school leadership and the Board of Trustees promised students and the community would happen.
The process was not a quick one.
It took more than two years. NewsChannel 6 spoke with Assistant Vice President of Institutional Advancement Helene Carter. She said the committee remains in Dallas Thursday with the TRACS Commission. She said they presented before about 30 people and afterwards that TRACS Commission prayed with Paine College for its success.
We headed to Paine to capture the immediate excitement.
“It’s a relief and it’s a very exciting time because the one thing we’ve always guaranteed our students is that we were going to be ok,” said Dean and Assistant Vice President for Student Affairs & Enrollment Management, R. Wayne Woodson.
Despite working through the cloud of uncertainty, Paine College announced its Candidacy status with Transnational Association of Christian Colleges and Schools or TRACS while still in Texas.
Paine College President Jerry Hardee said of the news, “We’re making great strides towards being successful in our efforts to keep Paine afloat.”
Though on probation and still in court fighting for restored full accreditation with the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on College or SACSCOC, the step towards a Christian based governing body is something Hardee explained was no small fete.
He said, “Students have to be better not only in their personal lives, but their religious focus. I think it better prepares them to go out and do well.”
TRACS made its decision after Paine showed progress financially. That progress was a reduction in debt, balanced budgets and two years of clean audits. Increased enrollment and the launch of its new Evening Program all helped secure TRACS. This year, Dean Woodson said Paine saw its largest Freshman class in several years and student enrollment is expected to grow.
“Right now we’re almost at 500,” he said including that more than 200 was part of the Freshman class alone. “I’m really excited because Dr. Hardee’s vision is to have 1,000 in two years.”
Other schools accredited by TRACS include Bob Jones University and Shorter College. Both Woodson and Hardee agree that students bearing degrees from TRACS accredited schools will be successful.
We asked, “Can you confidently tell students and parents and the community that students who graduate from now accredited TRACS Paine College will be able to go off to medical school, law school?”
President Hardee replied, “Oh, absolutely. Everywhere. Everywhere. And if fact, there are no barriers.”
President Hardee added once he returns the work continues to secure SACS. He said it offers more institutions and with that more resources. Paine’s athletic program is also tied to SACS too. No doubt TRACS is a huge step for Paine. And Woodson said me the school will have five years until it moves from candidacy status to accredited. But as of now, Paine’s candidacy status makes it fully accredited by TRACS.