A Reprieve for St. Paul’s College
Filed in HBCUs on September 1, 2012
In June the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools revoked the accreditation of St. Paul’s College in Lawrenceville. Although it vowed to appeal the decision, the college decided not to hold classes this fall. The college was founded in 1888 and is affiliated with the Episcopal Church. The college enrolled about 400 students last year.
On August 20, the appeal of the decision to revoke accreditation was denied by the board of trustees of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools. The loss of accreditation means that students at the college are unable to participate in federal financial aid programs.
After the appeal, St. Paul’s College continued to fight on. It took its case to federal court. The college asked a federal district court to issue a temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction to maintain the accreditation of the college while the court had the opportunity to examine the decision revoking accreditation.
The court quickly issued the preliminary injunction reinstating the college’s accreditation while the case worked its way through the legal process. As a result, the college decided that it would offer classes this semester. Efforts to register students will begin immediately, with the hope that classes can begin in October.
Dr. Oliver Spencer, chair of the board of the college, stated, “The entire St. Paul’s College community is resolved to preserve the college’s heritage and to protect the students on campus who would be damaged beyond repair as they would not be entitled to use any credits from this semester.”