UPDATE: Judge's ruling maintains Paine College's accreditation with SACS

By  | 

Friday, February 2, 2019

AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) -- A judge ruled Friday that Paine College can keep its accreditation with the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools for now.

The judge's decision means the historically black college is accredited by two bodies, the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools and the Transnational Association of Christian Colleges and Schools.

Paine College was granted candidacy status by TRACS in October.

President Jerry Hardee says the judge's decision means the school is retroactively accredited starting Oct. 30, 2018.

In a media conference, President Hardee told reporters if Paine College chooses to appeal they will stay accredited throughout the appeal process.

Dr. Hardee says it's a wonderful day in the life and history of Paine College.

"Very satisfying because we had our good name tarnished," said President Jerry Hardee.

Dr. Hardee says two years ago Paine College had more than 900 students enrolled and currently they have fewer than 500 students enrolled in the college.

"Student threatened to transfer," said Dr. Hardee.


Monday, November 12, 2018

AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) -- Paine College has filed an appeal after being granted candidacy status by TRACS.

A federal judge ruled against Paine's accreditation status with SACS in October. SACS is the accrediting body. SACS posted on their website last month that Paine will no longer be accredited with them once the judgment is final.

Now that Paine has been granted new status with TRACS, they the rights of a fully accredited school.

Paine is now asking the court to reconsider their status.



Thursday, November 1, 2018

AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) -- Paine College's president and the board announced Thursday that the college now has "candidacy status" with the Transnational Association of Christian Colleges and Schools (TRACS).

The news comes after a self-study and outside evaluation. This new status will give Paine College the rights of a fully accredited school under TRACS.

The decision by TRACS was made after seeing Paine's improvements in its finances, increased enrollment, and growth in academic programs.



Monday, October 15, 2018
(News 12 at 11)

AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) – Paine College is in a tough spot after a federal judge rules against their accreditation status. SACS is the accrediting body. SACS posted on their website that Paine will no longer be accredited with them once the judgement is final.

Paine has 30 days to appeal the decision. President Jerry Hardee talked with students and the media, hinting several times that they would appeal.

"Accreditation is paramount," Hardee said. "Without it you can't do a thing,"

This means Paine College is at risk of losing everything. A federal judge ruled against Paine College in the school's fight to stay accredited by SACS.

"This morning when all this stuff hit the news, parents started calling, students are concerned, am I going to graduate from an accredited school? Yes," Hardee said.

President Hardee, nothing short of confident with their current status. An attorney, not involved in the case, tells News 12 when there's an order like this one that's usually the end of the case.

"We're still accredited nothing has changed other than the fact that we have to address the order handed down by Judge Thrash," Hardee said.

Hardee says their restraining order against SACS is what's keeping their accreditation intact.

Students like Harry Davis Jr. say they back their school 100%.

"Everything that we are going through, HBCU across the nation are going though," Davis said. "You go to any other HBCU in this nation and people are trying to take them down just like they're trying to take Paine College down, but something's telling me it's not going to work."

President Hardee says Paine College will reapply for SACS, but SACS says they will no longer be accredited with them once the judgement is final.
"In the last year and a half we have satisfied all of those issues that SACS put before us," Hardee said. "But we did something else we also applied for accreditation with the Trans National Association of Christian colleges, TRACS."

TRACS came and toured the school and told Paine what they needed to work on. Hardee says he has a meeting in two weeks with the committee for accreditation from TRACS and is confident he'll seal the deal.
"If we are accredited by TRACS we can just say to SACS, go about your business, we don't need you," Hardee said.

A school has to be accredited to get federal funding. The more than half of students enrolled at Paine College depend on federal aid, so it would be really tough for them to continue financially if Paine loses full accreditation.


Monday, October 15, 2019

11:25 a.m.

AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) -- A judge has ruled against Paine College in their fight to stay accredited. On October 12th, Judge Thomas Thrash also ruled in favor of Paine's accrediting body, SACSCOC.

A SACS official tells News 12 that Paine College has less than 30 days to appeal the judge's ruling or lose accreditation.

Paine College’s legal team received a copy of Judge Thrash’s Order on the pending motions for summary judgment. Paine and its attorneys said they are carefully reviewing the order and evaluating the next steps in this litigation.

Paine is currently still accredited, but SACS put the following statement on their website:

SACS posted this update on their website:

"Paine College, located in Augusta, Georgia, will be removed as an accredited institution of SACSCOC, pending finality of the judgment. "

10:10 a.m.
AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) -- Paine College's President, Dr. Jerry L. Hardee, responded to a recent court ruling on Paine College's accreditation.

According to a press release from the school, Paine College remains accredited with probationary status.

On Friday, October 12th, Paine College’s legal team received a copy of Judge Thrash’s Order on the pending motions for summary judgment. Paine and its attorneys said they are carefully reviewing the order and evaluating the next steps in this litigation.

Paine still has a claim pending before the District Court and the Consent Preliminary Injunction that restored Paine as a member of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

Stay with News 12 NBC 26 to keep you updated on this story.