Gifts pour into Paine College as leadership braces itself for meeting with appeals board in August

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AUGUSTA, Ga. (WJBF) –  Paine announced more good news that will help ease its financial troubles in the days ahead.  The Christian Methodist Episcopal Church will join Paine’s President and Board of Trustees Wednesday morning to give a $1 Million gift.

News of the CME Church’s gift comes in the midst of fundraising efforts to help bring the school back from loss of its accreditation by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

Many in the community may know that this has been a two year battle for Paine.  It was 2014 when the school was placed on probation by SACS.  Two weeks ago, SACS recommended Paine lose its accreditation, but the century old historically black college is appealing that decision.  Now, the school must prove why it should not have been dropped.

SACS President Belle Wheelan spoke with me from her office in Atlanta.  She said this of Paine.

“They will appear before the appeals committee and the appeals committee will hear their case and make a decision as to either upholding the decision of our board or remanding it back to the board for further consideration.”

That’s the message from SACS about what Paine College needs to do about its accreditation and it has a month and a half to do it.   Wheelan explained what Paine needs to present at its appeal meeting.

She said, “Because the only reason Paine was dropped was for financial reasons, if they have additional financial information they can also bring that to the appeal.”

Paine announced it raised $3.1 Million already and is set to collect another $1 Million from the CME Church.  Macedonia Baptist Church Senior Pastor, Rev. Dr. Gregory Fuller said his church will hold a special collection this Sunday for ‘Paine College Day’ at the church.  His church raised $15,000 earlier this year.

But Wheelan told me short term money raising is just part of the proof Paine needs.  Wheelan added the school will need to secure long term revenue sources and show how it plans to use that money.

“If they have an additional influx of money and can show that they are putting it in and will balance their budget then that is what the appeals committee can consider,” she said.

I asked, “Are you looking for a long-term or is the board looking for long-term revenue or just a lump sum they have been able to raise?”

“They are looking for both,” she replied. “They are looking for stability. What are you going to do for next year?”

Now we looked deeper into if other schools have gone through what Paine is going through right now.  SACS reports 12 institutions lost accreditation between 2000 and 2014.  SACS leadership tells me one institution has regained its accreditation in recent history after losing its accreditation. The school will meet with the appeals board in August.

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