- Associated Press - Saturday, August 29, 2015

WILBERFORCE, Ohio (AP) - Two small higher education institutions in southwestern Ohio are waiting to learn their accreditation status, necessary for students to be eligible for certain types of financial aid.

A Higher Learning Commission meeting in November will determine if Antioch College in Yellow Springs, and Wilberforce University will be accredited, the Dayton Daily News reported (https://bit.ly/1MxbPYv ).

“Regional accreditation validates the overall quality of an institution,” said John Hausaman, spokesman for the Higher Learning Commission. He said the commission evaluates academic offerings, mission, finance and resources.

Wilberforce is one of the nation’s oldest historically black private universities. The commission told the university in 2014 that it had to address leadership problems, deteriorating buildings, and high levels of debt.

The university has spent more than $2 million in renovations and repairs to prepare for the review. It also put $400,000 into technology upgrades and boosted fundraising efforts.



“It’s essential that we retain our accreditation. I’m impressed with everything the president (Algeania Marie Warren Freeman) has done,” said Jamye Coleman Williams, a 1938 graduate of Wilberforce and emeritus trustee.

Antioch College is trying to get accredited for the first time after closing during the recession in 2008 and reopening in 2011.

Colleges typically require four years to obtain accreditation, but Antioch is on a two-year track, allowing students to be eligible for federal financial aid this fall. In order to attract students, the college has completely covered tuition costs for students eligible for financial aid. It has spent about $130 million since reopening, most of which has gone toward operating costs, purchasing the college, renovations and student grants

“There is a Catch-22. A lot of donors are waiting for accreditation. It’s also hard to get tuition-paying students without accreditation. But both of those help prepare for accreditation,” said Mark Roosevelt, president of Antioch.

Students who graduate from an unaccredited school could face difficulties getting jobs or with being accepted into graduate schools.

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Information from: Dayton Daily News, https://www.daytondailynews.com

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