Cheyney University gets one-year reprieve

 Cheyney University  (Emily Cohen for NewsWorks)

Cheyney University (Emily Cohen for NewsWorks)

The nation’s oldest historically black college will remain accredited after a state commission decided to work with the school, citing “significant progress” after a two-year probationary period.

Cheyney University has grappled with financial and administrative woes in recent years. In August, Pennsylvania’s state-owned university system agreed to forgive $30 million in loans if the school maintained a balanced budget over the next four years.

Losing accreditation would likely have signaled the death knell for Cheyney, founded in 1837 as the Institute for Colored Youth.

The Middle States Commission on Higher Education said Cheyney is “making a good-faith effort to remedy existing deficiencies” in its letter Friday.

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There’s “a reasonable expectation that such deficiencies will be remedied within the period of the extension” of the university’s accreditation, the commission said.

Cheyney — which straddles Chester and Delaware counties in Pennsylvania — must report to the commission by September demonstrating progress on the remaining accreditation issues.

President Aaron A. Walton began his tenure in May.

“The commission’s decision comes after months and months of hard work by so many students, faculty, staff, trustees and others who have contributed to helping place our university on a stable path,” said Walton Friday.

“While we all pause to recognize this important opportunity, we know that there is much work ahead in order to move the university from probationary status to regular status,” he said. “That is our next goal, and I am convinced we will achieve it too.”

About 700 undergraduates attend the school that is part of the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education.


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