AUGUSTA, GEORGIA – The life of Paine College is at stake this semester.
On Wednesday, Paine College Interim President gave the annual Spring Convocation speech. WJBF News Channel 6’s Stefany Bornman has the latest on the efforts to save the school’s accreditation.
Paine College remains on probation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, for four violations. Combine that with the fact that the college’s finances are in trouble, and this could be the last chance to prove the college is on track financially and can remain open.
To kick-off the spring 2016 semester, Interim President of Paine College, Dr. Samuel Sullivan addressed the challenges the college has to overcome in the next six months. The administration must prove it is dealing with the four remaining financial sanctions that could close the historical institution down. On Wednesday, many students showed up to the convocation and say they have hope in their faculty.
“We’ve met these challenges before and we’ve beat them so I’m very sure that we will get through this,” said Paine College Junior Ashley-Marie Garrett.
Paine still owes more than $2 million dollars to vendors. Dr. Sullivan says the school’s financial situation has caused many faculty members to move on from the college. He says that has given the college a chance to trim its costs.”Where we have had an opportunity to combine positions we have done that. We have had an opportunity to reorganize ourselves and not fill some of the positions because as you certainly know one of the main problems we had is resources,” Sullivan said.
Enrollment is also down at Paine College and with fewer students, the school gets less money in fees and tuition. With the administration tightening its belt, school leaders say they’re making sure the quality of education won’t be affected.
“I’ve always had a lot of people in my classes because Social Sciences is one of the largest departments, so that’s different. But I think it also helped us understand we are going to have to work like we never have before,” said Chair of Social Sciences Department Lawanda Cummings.
Dr. Sullivan also announced, on Wednesday, that the college is near an agreement to refinance the Health Education Activities Learning Complex and Paine Villa. If that happens, the college would avoid having to make a one-time payment of more than $3.4 million dollars, that would have been due this month. Sullivan says refinancing those projects will be a big money saver for Paine College.
Next month, Paine College with file a report on its progress with Southern Association of Colleges and Schools. The final review to decide whether the college remains accredited will come in June of this year.