It was recently announced that because of declining enrollment and years of budget deficits, Bennett College could lose its accreditation soon. According to Greensboro News & Record, the North Carolina all women’s HBCU learned that the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges had voted to end the college’s accreditation. They’ve given Bennett, who has been on accreditation probation since 2016, until February 1st to prove its financial stability to which college leaders hope to raise $5 million by the deadline.
“We are still relevant and needed,” Bennett President Phyllis Worthy Dawkins tells reporters. “We will fight for our accreditation and our survival.”
Joining the fight to help save Bennett College from losing its accreditation and possibly closing its doors is actor Jussie Smollett and his brother and culinarian Jake Smollett. The two took to Instagram to post a photo wearing black T-shirts that read “Stand With Bennett.”
“At our peak, in the 1930s, we had 121 HBCUs, now we’re down to 101,” Jussie’s caption reads. “Don’t let us be down to 100 if Bennett College, an institution who has made the education of black women a priority since 1926, closes its doors. We must continue the legacy of #BennettCollege.”
Schools that lose accreditation will no longer be eligible to receive federal and state financial aid. Institutions that lose accreditation often close because grants and loans are a significant source of funding for many schools.
Also standing with Bennett College is the UNCF (United Negro College Fund), who released a statement acknowledging the school’s improvement since being placed on probation and says this should serve as a testament.
“The fact that Bennett College has made significant improvements since being placed on accreditation probation two years ago is a testament to this institution’s willingness and diligence to do everything it can to meet the standards set forth by its accrediting body and to ensure its students receive well-needed federal financial aid,” UNCF President and CEO Michael Lomax said in a statement. “Bennett College has always maintained a mission-centric culture, driven by the pursuit of academic excellence and providing its students with the best education possible. And we stand with them.”
To join the fight to help save Bennett College, donate here.