GREENSBORO, N.C. – Bennett College announced Friday that its accreditation was restored earlier in the day by a federal judge in Atlanta.
The court’s decision reflects an agreement reached between the college and the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools to preserve the college’s accreditation during legal proceedings, according to a press release from the school.
The college has filed a lawsuit against the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges to make sure the school can remain open.
Accreditation is important because, among other things, it allows schools to accept federal grants and student loans.
The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on College issued the announcement on Friday that Bennett College lost its accreditation, despite a massive fundraising effort that surpassed its initial goal.
Despite the news, Greensboro Mayor Nancy Vaughan said she's confident the college's doors will stay open. She says there is a "plan B" possibly involving another accreditation board and even a potential lawsuit.
The SACSCOC Board of Trustees voted to pull Bennett's accreditation on Dec. 9, but the college appealed the decision, telling the board that the decision was "arbitrary and unreasonable and not based on, or consistent with, the published Principles of Accreditation of SACSCOC policies."
The Appeals Committee reaffirmed the board's initial decision.
The SACSCOC reported that the committee made the call "with no remand for consideration of additional financial information made available after December 9, 2018," meaning that they did not recognize the over $9 million the college was able to raise after the board's decision.
Bennett College leaders were notified that the college lost its accreditation on Feb. 18.
Bennett College's Student Government Association is calling for the removal of the LeRoy Summers Jr., Vice President of Business & Finance, in light of what's happened.
The school said it is aware that the students want to remove Summers Jr. and the school is conducting an investigation.