After Long Battle, All-Female HBCU Bennett College Loses Accreditation

Feb 22, 2019

The crowd in the Annie Merner Pfieffer Chapel sing Bennett College's "Preference Song" on Feb. 4 as they celebrate raising $8.2 million in their Stand With Bennett campaign. The school lost its accreditation on Feb. 22.
Credit Naomi Prioleau / WUNC

Updated at 2:30 p.m.

Bennett College has lost its accreditation after the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools denied the school's appeal.

The accrediting agency cited a lack of financial resources and a lack of a stable base of support to ensure the school's educational mission. Bennett College is an all-female, historically black college founded in Greensboro in 1873.

Without accreditation, Bennett College can not participate in federal programs, like student financial aid. Other schools that lost accreditation closed or were significantly diminished.

Bennett College says it raised more than $9 million since mid-December as part of a "Stand With Bennett" Campaign. Nearby High Point University President Nido Qubein announced earlier this month that his school would donate $1 million to Bennett. The fundraising effort was not enough to change the accrediting agency's decision.

It is unclear what Bennett's administration will do next. It is possible the school could seek accreditation elsewhere, or file a legal challenge. School leaders have said previously that they will sue the agency. In previous instances, the commission has responded to lawsuits by agreeing to extend accreditation to let the legal process develop.