Atlanta HBCU Morris Brown College accreditation restored after 20 years 2022-04-27 16:04:52

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The historically black college in Atlanta received its full accreditation after losing 20 years ago, according to press release from school.

“Many thought this feat was impossible, but because of our strong belief in God, our wonderful hardworking faculty and staff, the support of the African Methodist Episcopal Church, our dedicated alumni, and our resilient spirit, we have been able to make a full mark,” College President Kevin James said in a statement.

“This was really a tough reset. This is just the beginning!” James said.

The college has accreditation from the Transnational Association of Christian Colleges and Schools (TRACS), a Virginia-based accrediting agency.

CNN has reached out to TRACS for comment, but has not heard back.

Reaccreditation means the school is eligible again to apply for Federal Education Funding which can go toward Student Financial Assistance and Pell Grants or on-campus housing as long as the college remains compliant with federal terms and standards.

Maurice Brown’s return is also a beacon of hope for smaller HBCU units struggling with funding and registration, especially in In the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The school was holding a thin thread

Maurice Brown’s 20-year journey began in 2002, when the school was de-accredited due to debt and financial mismanagement. Then the once thriving college saw its enrollment rates drop sharply from about 2,000 to fewer than 50 students. Over the years, the number of enrolled students has ranged between 30 and 50 students.

The college never officially closed, but it was holding a thread.

Faced with mounting debts and a crumbling infrastructure, the school’s board of trustees offered management an option: to close their doors for good. The grounds could in theory be converted into a museum or site for private development, but its days as an active college seem to be over.

Morris Brown re-accreditation could indicate greater longevity among HBCUs

James, the college president, disagreed. It was believed that there was still a chance to regain accreditation, and to develop as an operational campus.

James was appointed interim president in early 2019 and formally appointed president in May 2020. He immediately focused on what he called a “factory reset” of the college.

In April 2021, Maurice Brown officially received an accreditation nomination by TRACS. This means that the institution is in basic compliance with TRACS standards and criteria and has been evaluated by an on-site peer team that has found the institution to provide sound instruction and student services.

Fast forward a year and the school celebrates its recertification.

Morris Brown College is part of the historic Atlanta University Center (AUC)which includes Spelman College, Morehouse College, Morehouse College of Medicine and Clark Atlanta University.
It was founded in 1881 by former enslaved religious leaders of the Big Bethel AME Church, according to the school’s version. The college was the first college in Georgia owned and operated by African Americans, including its notable alumni Alberta Williams Kingmother of Martin Luther King, Jr., and Alan Macpherson who was the first black writer to win a Pulitzer Prize for a novel.

CNN’s Skylar Mitchell contributed to this report.

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