It was announced in December 2018 that HBCU Bennett College was at risk of losing its accreditation and could possibly close its doors after the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges had voted to remove Bennett’s membership due to financial instability. The all-female institution was met with the challenging task of raising $5 million in an effort to stay open. Following the news, Bennett College received an outpour of support from everyone, including actor Jussie Smollett and brother Jake Smollett. The pair posted a photo on Instagram using the hashtag #StandWithBennett.
All of the support from the community and campaigning by Bennett students, alumni, and school officials has brought about amazing results as it has been announced that the North Carolina HBCU has surpassed its fundraising goal of $5 million by raising a total of $8.2 million.
“When we were cited in December that we would be removed from membership in SACS, we were told that we did not meet one standard, which was financial resources. And so, SACS has 90 to 95 standards, and that’s the only standard we did not meet. So, to that extent we have to produce $5 million to demonstrate financial stability,” Bennett College President, Phyllis Worthy Dawkins said.
Although Bennett has met its financial goal, they still have to undergo a formal appeal for its accreditation on Feb. 18. Community members will learn the accreditation board’s decision on Feb. 25. However, this is certainly a step in the right direction!
“As of today, we have raised $8.2 million! We could not have done it without any of you! We are forever grateful! THANK YOU!,” reads a tweet from Bennett College.
As of today, we have raised $8.2 million! We could not have done it without any of you! We are forever grateful! THANK YOU! 💙🔔💙 #StandWithBennett #BennettCollege #BennettBelles #BennettMatters #HBCUsMatter
— Bennett College (@BennettCollege) February 4, 2019