AUGUSTA, Ga. (WJBF) – Coverage you can count on digs into Paine College by the numbers. We have started to go through a very lengthy court document that explains just how serious the situation is between the historically black college and its accrediting body, the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools. A more than 100 page lawsuit details how Paine got to where it is now. The school’s lawyers filed the injunction Monday and a few hours later a U.S. District Court judge granted the school its wish. That move reaffirms accreditation at Paine briefly taken away by the SACSCOC Board of Trustees. The lawsuit claims Paine’s due process rights were violated during an appeals hearing in Atlanta September 12. It claims SACS made an arbitrary decision that included excluding vital financial information that would have shown compliance.
Here are the numbers laid out in the lawsuit:
- Paine College was faced with a $10 million budget shortfall in September of 2014.
- The football team cost the school too. Board Chairman Michael Thurmond said that amounted to about $1 million two years in a row.
- The suit also spelled out how changes to the federal PLUS Loan cost them and as many as 95 percent of Paine students qualified for that.
- Because students’ parents couldn’t get money through the PLUS Loan, Paine students attended school without paying, adding to $2.3 million in student debt to the school.
Thurmond said the school balanced that budget and has a surplus of more than 600 thousand dollars.
He added the plan now is to manage that money better despite the low number of students. The lawsuit states there are 415 full and part-time students at Paine, plus 100 high school students getting college credits.
Paine hopes to negotiate with SACS soon to resolve the remaining issues. It has three remaining financial sanctions.