Morris Brown’s accreditation restored two decades after debt, embezzlement imperiled the school

The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools revoked the school’s accreditation in 2002 due to financial discrepancies

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Morris Brown College has finally received accreditation through the Transnational Association of Christian Colleges and Schools (TRACS) after nearly 20 years.

As reported previously by theGrio, the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools revoked the school’s accreditation in 2002 due to financial discrepancies. Federal funding was also revoked, nearly closing the historical institution. 

The re-accreditation will allow the private, liberal arts HBCU in Atlanta to enroll more students who can apply for federal loans and Pell Grants, the association confirmed to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Only 42 students were enrolled at the college in 2019, per Fox Atlanta.

“Morris Brown College just made history,” President Kevin James said in a telephone interview. “We’re excited about it. A lot of people had written us off. But due to a lot of hard work and dedication, we were able to regain our accreditation.”

Some of Morris Brown’s notable alumni include Alberta Williams King, the mother of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and civil rights leader Hosea Williams.

Morris Brown College (Public Domain)

“I am honored to lead this great institution,” said James, Fox Atlanta reports. “Many thought that this feat was impossible, but due to our strong faith in God, our hardworking and wonderful faculty and staff, the support of the African Methodist Episcopal Church, our dedicated alumni, and our resilient spirit, we were able to achieve full accreditation.”

The announcement comes three months after Dr. Rashad Sanford, an Atlanta business owner and Morris Brown alumni, announced a $5,000 scholarship for students studying hospitality management at the university.

“Morris Brown offers a unique, affordable, and quality education that prepares students for success. This was truly The Hard Reset. This is just the beginning,” said James, referring to comments he made when he took over as the college’s president in 2020, CBS 46 reports. 

As reported by AJC, TRACS President Timothy Eaton said the college “has been very diligent in doing what we asked them to do” during the re-accreditation process.

Eaton said Morris Brown has also “demonstrated a sound fundraising strategy and had some successful fundraising,” as was required. 

Part of the re-accreditation requirements also included hiring more faculty members. According to the report, Eaton said the association will review Morris Brown’s finances and audits annually as part of the post-accreditation process.

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