Bethune-Cookman University Loses Nearly $10M, Marking Fifth Consecutive Year Of Financial Decline

The historically Black Florida university faces numerous obstacles including accreditation probation, credit rating downgrades, and three lawsuits concerning housing projects.

Photo Credit: Cookman.edu

| June 14 2019,

2:33 pm

Under the leadership of interim President Hubert Grimes, Bethune-Cookman University continues to be in financial jeopardy after losing almost $10 million, according to the school’s latest fiscal year report.

During the 2017-2018 fiscal year, the Florida HBCU lost $9.9 million, compared to the $9.8 million in losses the previous year under former B-CU President Edison Jackson, The Daytona Beach News-Journal reports. This year marks the fifth consecutive year of decline for Bethune-Cookman, which has lost $38 million since 2016.

In a statement, the university said the IRS Form 990 “reveals nothing new,” and adds that “[w]e look forward to a more positive perspective as we welcome new leadership and a focus on preserving B-CU’s rightful position as one of America’s vitally important historical black universities.”

On top of financial woes, the university has experienced two credit rating downgrades and been placed on accreditation probation since Jackson’s resignation last year.  

Bethune-Cookman’s newly appointed President Brent Chrite, begins on July 1, and in a press release from the university, says that repairing the university’s finances is a top priority.

On Thursday, a regional oversight committee for the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on College voted to extend the accreditation probation for B-CU, giving the institution only one more year to resolve the issue.

Sheila Flemming-Hunter, former Dean of the Bethune-Cookman’s School of Social Sciences, says the decision is a “second chance” for the university.

“It means that there’s a lot of work to be done. It should be all hands on deck with trying to make SACSCOC the priority area of the institution,” she told the Daytona Beach News-Journal.

Despite the adversities that face B-CU, its community still has faith in continuing its 114-year legacy.