The all-women black academy, Bennett College, has been granted temporary accreditation after suing its accreditor; the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).

SACSCOC previously said the college needed to raise $5 million by Feb.1 to retain its accreditation. Through donors like the Papa Johns Foundation — which gave $500,000 to the #StandwithBennett campaign — the college was able to surpass their initial goal in six weeks, raising $9.5 million in total.

Despite the success of the campaign, the SACSCOC was not convinced.

“[Bennett College] failed to show the institution possesses resources demonstrating a stable financial base, to support the mission and scope of program services,” the SACSCOC said.

Tuition and fees at Bennett cost up to $14,092 for double occupancy, according to the college's 2018-2019 student financial information report. But, Bennett is not the only college trying to stay afloat.

HBCUs that have lost accreditation include Morris Brown College in Atlanta, Barber-Scotia College in Concord, North Carolina, and Knoxville College in Knoxville, Tennessee, according to the Philadelphia Tribune. All three institutions are still open but struggle with enrollment.

Professor Mary Gasman at the University of Pennsylvania, who has studied HBCUs for decades, said maintaining accreditation is critical for financial aid purposes. This is of particular significance for Bennett, as the majority of its students require that aid.

The college is currently pursuing accreditation through the Transnational Association of Christian Colleges and Schools (TRACS), who is scheduled to visit the campus in March.

For extra legal support, the college hired The Banks Law Firm, P.A. in Research Triangle Park, North Carolina, and Alston & Bird in Atlanta. The firms aided in the successful motion for a temporary restraining order against the SACSCOC — ordered to prevent the accreditor from revoking its accreditation.

“Our fight continues,” Bennett President Phyllis Worthy Dawkins said in a press release on Friday evening. “The accreditation process can be slow and even disappointing at times. The negative decision by [the SACSCOC] to remove Bennett from membership will not disrupt the daily operations of the college. We will continue educating our young women to become analytical thinkers, effective communicators, and phenomenal leaders. We urge everyone to keep the faith and know that Bennett College is standing strong.”

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