Saint Augustine’s University was denied its accreditation appeal last week in the latest installment of its fight to remain open. The institution remains accredited for the time being, as it plans to appeal to a higher authority and file a lawsuit against the SACS Board of Trustees, which handles accreditations.

“We disagree with the decision made by SACSCOC and plan to appeal to a higher authority with evidence supporting the institution’s progress in resolving non-compliance,” Interim President Marcus Burgess said in a statement, according to ABC11.

He said that seniors will graduate and that financial aid will be honored.

“We are committed to upholding the high standards of academic excellence that define SAU, and we are resolute to our mission to nurture future leaders who will shape our world with their knowledge, integrity, and compassion,” Burgess added.

The SACS Board of Trustees voted to remove Saint Augustine’s membership last December. It cited a failure to comply with requirements such as the HBCU’s governing board and financial resources.

The institution owes $7.9 million to the IRS from 2020, according to a tax lien obtained by ABC11. The lien prevents Saint Augustine’s from selling land to investors. A recent audit also showed that $10 million is missing from the institution’s financial records.

The news comes as the university moved classes online days before the start of the spring semester. Students were notified in an email that the first two weeks would be held remotely. Saint Augustine’s had cited a need for residence halls and classrooms to be in the best conditions.

In a separate instance, two complaints from university officials and staffers were filed against the university in recent months. Former university president Dr. Christine Johnson McPhail filed a discrimination complaint after being fired last December, while former football coach Howard Feggins sued Saint Augustine’s alleging he was firing unlawfully in October.