Johnson C. Smith University's accrediting agency has placed the school on probation.
JCSU officials would only say that the school was placed on probation because of concerns over financial stability and control of finances. The decision was made by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
For the past two years, the university had a warning status and was being closely monitored by accreditors. In a press release, university officials said they were told that they presented a strong financial case, but questions were raised about information included on this year’s audit report that did not appear on previous audits. The release did not go into specifics.
A special committee of the accrediting agency will visit JCSU next fall to determine if their concerns have been addressed and if additional actions need to be taken. University officials say they are not discouraged by the school’s probationary status and are confident it will be lifted by the end of next year. In the meantime, the school is still an accredited institution.
JCSU has had financial challenges for several years now. Four years ago, they laid off 21 employees and eliminated or put a hold on 30 other positions. They blamed a drop in enrollment at the time. The school had about 18 hundred students in 2013 and enrollment is down to about 15 hundred today.
The 150-year-old historically black college is in the midst of a change of leadership. Ron Carter was president for nine years. Clarence Ambrister, president of a k-12 boarding school in Philadelphia, will be sworn in JCSU's next president in January.