The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC) is the regional accrediting body in the 11 U.S. Southern states (Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, and Virginia) for institutions of higher education that award associate, baccalaureate, master’s, or doctoral degrees. Saint Augustine’s University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges to award baccalaureate degrees.
Southern Association of Colleges and Schools
1866 Southern Lane
Decatur, Georgia 30033-4097
Telephone number: 404.679.4500
RALEIGH, NC (DECEMBER 6, 2017) – AT THE ANNUAL MEETING OF THE SOUTHERN ASSOCIATION OF COLLEGES AND SCHOOLS COMMISSION ON COLLEGES (SACSCOC) IN DALLAS, TEXAS, THE SACSCOC BOARD OF TRUSTEES VOTED LAST EVENING TO CONTINUE SAINT AUGUSTINE’S UNIVERSITY’S ACCREDITATION FOR GOOD CAUSE.
In January 2018, the University will be notified by official letter of its continued accreditation and that institution will be placed on probation to give the University time to continue improvement before a Special Committee of SACSCOC further reviews the institution’s financial stability again in the fall of 2018.
“I am pleased the University has been given additional time to remove the sanction status altogether and continue its ongoing turnaround strategy,” said Dr. Everett B. Ward, Saint Augustine’s president. “Our recent audit reflects a debt reduction of over $1 million, which represents a significant shrinkage of our deficit. This fall we had an increase in freshman enrollment and over the last year we witnessed an increase in donor giving. Though not out of the woods, we are undoubtedly in a better position today than we were two years ago.”
Dr. Ward added that the turnaround strategy is benefiting from the enormous support from alumni, The Episcopal Church and friends of the University. Financial stability has been a priority of Dr. Ward’s administration since his appointment as interim president in April 2014. The administration has a plan in place to address all of the concerns raised by SACSCOC and will continue to work to strengthen the University’s financial landscape.
“The Saint Augustine’s University Board of Trustees stands behind President Ward and is working hard in partnership with the institution’s administration to continue to make improvements,” said Rev. Dr. Hilton Smith, chairman of the University Board of Trustees. “The issues raised by SACSCOC are centered on finances and we are confident that these issues are being sufficiently addressed. The Board of Trustees and the University’s leadership team have the same goals, to take Saint Augustine’s University to higher heights, while preserving the University’s history.”
The decision by SACSCOC continues the status of Saint Augustine’s University as a fully accredited institution. The Very Reverend Canon Lang Lowrey, of The Episcopal Church, stated that The Episcopal Church will do “everything possible to work with university leadership to address the sanctions.”
Even though accreditation continues, why was Saint Augustine’s University placed on probation?
In February 2014, SACSCOC sent a letter to Saint Augustine’s University seeking information regarding unsolicited information SACSCOC received about the areas of financial resources, financial stability and control of finances. Since that time Saint Augustine’s University has submitted a series of financial and narrative reports, and was visited by an on-site SACSCOC committee. After the commission reviewed all reports and information, the SACSCOC Board of Trustees placed Saint Augustine’s University on warning at its December 2015 Annual Meeting in Atlanta, Georgia. Saint Augustine’s University will receive an official letter from SACSCOC in January 2017 detailing required specifics regarding the probation. Saint Augustine’s University has been working diligently to address the concerns expressed earlier by SACSCOC and has also put measures in place to strengthen the financial stability of the institution.
What are the next steps?
Saint Augustine’s University is awaiting receipt of the official letter of notification from SACSCOC, which will include specific details and instructions that the University will follow to address the compliance issues.
How long will Saint Augustine’s University be on Probation?
The probation period is for 12 months. It is anticipated that the SACSCOC decision about the probation status will be released at the December 2017 meeting of the SACSCOC Board of Trustees.
Has the University lost its accreditation?
No. The University continues to be accredited. The Saint Augustine’s University Board of Trustees and Administration, with the support of The Episcopal Church, alumni, and friends, are fully committed and prepared to implement all of the necessary corrective actions to satisfactorily address the areas of concern.
Who is responsible on campus for making sure we stay accredited?
The University President has the primary responsibility for ensuring that the University maintains its accreditation.
What happens if we do not fix the areas of concerns? Will Saint Augustine’s University lose its accreditation?
We are confident that we can address the areas of concern. Saint Augustine’s University fully expects to demonstrate compliance within the period of probation. The Saint Augustine’s University Board of Trustees and Administration are fully committed and prepared to implement all of the necessary corrective actions to satisfactorily address the areas of concern.
Does the probation status decision affect my financial aid?
No, the decision does not affect student financial aid. The University remains accredited by SACSCOC and is still recognized by the U.S. Department of Education (USDOE) in the Database of Accredited Post-secondary Institutions and Programs to offer and award federal financial aid to eligible students.
How will probation impact my ability to gain internships?
The SACSCOC probation status did not arise from concerns about the quality of Saint Augustine’s University’s educational programs. Saint Augustine’s University students will continue to receive a first-class education and will remain highly competitive for internship opportunities.
How will a potential graduate school view this warning by SACSCOC in determining whether I am accepted?
You will still be a graduate of an accredited institution. The SACSCOC probation did not arise from concerns about the quality of Saint Augustine’s University’s academic programs. Saint Augustine’s University graduates will continue to be highly competitive for admission to graduate programs.
Will I still receive full credit for the classes I am currently enrolled in on my transcripts?
Yes, students will receive full credit for classes. The SACSCOC probation status does not impact the academic standing or coursework of Saint Augustine’s University students.
Will this probation status impact the courses the University offers this summer?
No. The SACSCOC probation status will have no impact on the course offerings.
How can I stay informed about new developments regarding Saint Augustine’s University’s status with SACSCOC?
In the coming days, Saint Augustine’s University will establish a web page that can be accessed from the front page of the University’s website: www.st-aug.edu/sacsupdate. Any new developments regarding SACSCOC will be posted here.
Southern Association of Colleges and Schools
Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC)
Disclosure Statement Regarding the Status of
SAINT AUGUSTINE’S UNIVERSITY
Raleigh, North Carolina
Issued December 17, 2015, by SACS Commission on Colleges
The following publicly available information is provided by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC) concerning the accreditation of Saint Augustine’s University. Information presented below is in accord with the Commission’s disclosure policy; staff of the Commission cannot comment further on questions specifically related to Saint Augustine’s University. The institution has reviewed this statement prior to public posting.
Action by SACSCOC Board of Trustees took place on December 6, 2015, and the institution’s next review is December 2016.
Saint Augustine’s University is accredited by SACS Commission on Colleges; however, the institution was placed on Warning for 12 months after review of a monitoring report and Special Committee Report originating with the submission of unsolicited information from media sources alleging non-compliance with financial standards. SACSCOC accreditation includes all components of the institution—all programs, branch campuses, off-campus sites, and distance learning programs as reported to the Commission; thus, the Warning status applies to the entire institution.
Warning is a public sanction imposed by SACSCOC Board of Trustees following determination of significant non-compliance with the Core Requirements, Comprehensive Standards, or the Federal Requirements of SACSCOC Principles of Accreditation; failure to make timely and significant progress toward correcting the deficiencies that led to the finding of non-compliance; or failure to comply with Commission policies and procedures. The maximum total time during one monitoring period that an institution may be on Warning is two years. In December 2016, Saint Augustine’s University will have been on Warning for 12 months. For additional information about sanctions, see the Commission’s policy entitled “Sanctions, Denial of Reaffirmation, and Removal from Membership” that can be accessed at http://www.sacscoc.org/principles.asp.
Saint Augustine’s University was placed on Warning because the SACSCOC Board of Trustees determined that the institution had failed to demonstrate compliance with Core Requirement 2.11.1 (Financial resources and stability), Comprehensive Standard 3.10.1 (Financial stability), and Comprehensive Standard 3.10.3 (Control of finances) of the Principles of Accreditation—the accreditation standards of SACSCOC. These standards expect an institution to provide evidence that it (1) has a sound financial base and resources demonstrating financial stability and (2) exercises appropriate control over all its financial resources. (To read the full statement for the standard cited above, access the Principles of Accreditation at http://www.sacscoc.org/principles.asp
The SACSCOC Board of Trustees will consider the accreditation status of Saint Augustine’s University following review of a Second Monitoring Report and financial statements addressing the standards cited above for non-compliance. The Board will have the following options: (1) remove the institution from Warning without an additional report; (2) continue accreditation for good cause, place the institution on Probation, request an additional report, and authorize a Special Committee; and (3) remove the institution from membership with SACS Commission on Colleges for failure to comply with the standards or failure to meet the provisions of good cause. Commission staff will not speculate on what decision might be made by the Board of Trustees in December 2016.
For additional information regarding the Commission’s accreditation process, access the Principles of Accreditation (http://www.sacscoc.org/principles.asp).
THE CLERY ACT
The Jeanne Clery Disclosure of Campus Security Policy and Campus Crime Statistics Act (Clery Act) is a federal mandate requiring all institutions of higher education (IHEs) that participate in the federal student financial aid program to disclose information about crime on their campuses and in the surrounding communities. Saint Augustine’s University publishes a report every year by October 1st that contains three years of campus crime statistics and certain policy statements. You can obtain an electronic copy of the 2015 Annual Security Report or a paper copy by contacting the Campus Police Administrative Offices during normal business hours at 919.516.5202.
Title IX Notice of Nondiscrimination
In accordance with Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, Saint Augustine’s University (SAU) does not discriminate on the basis of sex or gender in any of its programs or activities including, but not limited to, admissions, financial aid, academics, athletics, career services, counseling and medical services, and employment.
SAU is committed to providing a safe and welcoming environment for our students, visitors, faculty, and staff. Members of the SAU community have the right to be free from gender-based discrimination and sexual misconduct of any nature, including sexual harassment, stalking, sexual exploitation, or sexual violence. To ensure compliance with Title IX, each University must designate a Title IX Coordinator to evaluate current policies and practices, coordinate efforts to effectively and efficiently respond to complaints of sex or gender discrimination, and ensure as much as possible that every SAU student and employee has equal education and employment opportunities. SAU’s designated Title IX Coordinator is the Director of Human Relations Compliance.
For further information regarding Title IX, please contact Saint Augustine’s Title IX Coordinator:
DEPUTY TITLE IX COORDINATION
SEXUAL MISCONDUCT POLICY
Sexual misconduct is strictly prohibited by University policy and may also be prohibited by state and federal law, including Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 (Title IX) and the Violence Against Women Act of 1994 (VAWA). Please familiarize yourself with this policy and abide by the established standards of behavior. Ignorance of this policy will not be an acceptable excuse for violations of the policy.
If you or someone you know have been a victim of sexual assault or any other type of sexual misconduct prohibited under this policy, you are encouraged to seek immediate assistance from one or more of the resources identified in Appendix A.
Any reports of sexual misconduct or questions about this policy should be referred to the Title IX Coordinator, Jamila A. Ormond at 919.516.4167 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
ADA COMPLIANCE PROGRAM
Welcome to Saint Augustine’s University
Saint Augustine’s University’s ADA Compliance Program for Students with Disabilities offers quality services, reasonable and effective accommodations to students with disabilities to enhance their academic success, participation in educational programs, and quality of campus life. The University supports the protection available to members of its community under all applicable Federal laws, including Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, Title IX of the Educational Amendments of 1972, and Title VI and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The ADA Office invites all students with special needs to take advantage of the support services provided by the University, to enable them to reach their full academic potential. Saint Augustine’s University prohibits the discrimination of students with disabilities and provides reasonable and appropriate accommodations to qualified students with disabilities.
All students attending Saint Augustine’s University with documented disabilities are eligible and encouraged to contact the ADA Office at 919.516.4382. Students who think they have a disability are encouraged to contact the ADA office.
If a student wishes accommodations, the student must contact the ADA Office and submit recent documentation of the disability from an appropriate licensed/certified professional. A letter, summary statement or education plan alone will not suffice. If we receive this information during the summer, we can begin preparing for the student’s needs before the student comes to campus.
STUDENTS WITH DISABILITIES HAVE THE RIGHT TO:
- Equal access to courses, programs, services, jobs, activities, and facilities offered through the university
- Equal opportunity to work and to learn, and to receive reasonable accommodations
- Appropriate confidentiality of all information regarding their disabilities and to choose to whom information about their disabilities will be disclosed, except disclosures that are required or permitted by law
- Information available in accessible formats as warranted by documentation
STUDENTS WITH DISABILITIES HAVE THE RESPONSIBILITY TO:
- Meet qualifications and maintain essential institutional standards for courses, programs, services, jobs, activities and facilities
- Identify themselves as individuals with a disability when an accommodation is needed and to seek information, counsel, and assistance within a reasonable amount of time
- Pick up accommodation letter(s) and give to their instructors
- Demonstrate and/or document (from an appropriate professional) how the disability limits their participation in courses, programs, services, jobs, activities, and facilities
- Follow procedures for obtaining reasonable accommodations
- Arrange test accommodations with each faculty member