News 12 First at Five / Friday, June 22, 2012
AUGUSTA, Ga. -- On Friday, the president of Paine College announced the school has 12 months to correct financial mismanagement or risk losing their accreditation.
An audit earlier this year shows the college violated six financial standards, such as failing to pay bills and allegedly misusing loan money. News 12 first showed you the March 2012 audit a month ago.
On Friday, President George Bradley promised improvements.
"The goal -- it's not to meet the requirements. It's to exceed the requirements," he said.
Paine College is working on a list of improvements from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, the body that oversees school operations.
"We in fact have completed about 90 percent of them now," said Bradley of the list.
That leaves 10 percent to finish during the SACS-issued year-long warning period.
"A CFO would be a really good first step, but also with a CFO we have to have external evaluators to come in on a quarterly basis to make sure things are moving in the right direction," Bradley said.
Some alumni, like Deandre Beasley, say other media coverage has unfairly portrayed the school in a negative light.
"We just want it to be a clear story, a well-rounded story. No more 'TMZ' reporting," Beasley said.
For example, Beasley says they'd like to focus on how the school has grown in recent years: More students, more degrees offered, more buildings on campus.
"If it wasn't for my degree from Paine College," Beasley said, "I wouldn't be anything. And that's why you may sense the frustration in my voice. It pains me when someone tries to come at my school."
Another penalty includes ineligibility for the Federal Perkins Loan for two years.
"There's only a few students we're told who are involved with that, from what we've been told. So it's not a substantial percentage of scholarship monies that come into the school," said Annie Rogers, president of the Augusta Chapter of Paine Alumni.
Rogers says the Alumni Association stands firmly behind Paine's administration and president.
The administration admits some financial mistakes, and Bradley says certain personnel were fired.
"When folks have not met those standards, you know, we have to make a decision. We're not satisfied with average," he said.
Bradley says Paine College is continuing to look at the 12-month warning period as a growing period instead.