Special Message Regarding SACSCOC Reaffirmation of Accreditation

 Header from the President's Office


December 14, 2017

Dear Parents and Families,

On behalf of the JCSU Family we want to thank you for entrusting your sons and daughters to the University’s 21st Century educational vision-in-mission. We are delighted that our 150 years of undeniable progress have led us to a plateau that will continue to grow and move us higher and higher.  Indeed, this year has been a great example. The University is a recipient of an Innovation Grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation as an Institutional Partnership Site.  In October, several of our STEM students were selected to participate in the Black Enterprise BE Smart Hackathon, which was held in San Francisco, California.  On Saturday, December 10, the University received an early Christmas gift from one of our donors:  $1million, and that same day we announced that our Comprehensive Campaign goal of S150 million dollars has been exceeded by nine million dollars.  There can be no doubt that JCSU is on its growing edge!

We appreciate your emails and calls concerning the status of the University’s Reaffirmation for Accreditation and its meaning.  They indicate that you are engaged parents of our students and rightfully so. 

The SACSCOC Board of Trustees deferred a final decision on the University’s application for reaffirmation due to a disclosure format on our unmodified (clean) 2016-2917 audit report that had not appeared on our two previous audits.  This deferral puts the University on probation for twelve months.  The University looks forward to clearing this matter up with an authorized SACSCOC Committee that will visit with the University team leadership in October, 2018.   We can state without hesitation that our students, their educational experiences and our high quality academic programs will not be impacted in any way while we sort through this ambiguity in our unmodified (clean) audit.  

Also, let  us assure you that JCSU remains fully accredited and accordingly, operational.   We will continue to provide federal and institutional aid to our students as we have done in the past, and we look forward to awarding the Class of 2018 their hard earned degrees in May, 2018.  In other words, we can and will continue to perform all of the essential duties and functions of the University we all support and love.  

Now, we would like to share with you some additional facts about the University’s stability and the focus of our financial commitments:

  • In FY 2016-2017 actual results, the University produced an increase of $568,000 in unrestricted operating net assets and is not operating at a deficit;  
  • As is with most colleges and universities, JCSU has a lean budget that requires a lot of thought as to how we might continue to increase Institutional Aid to students as their financial gap increases every year.  Their gap is now averaging $5,000.  Accordingly, in the FY2016-2017 Budget unfunded institutional aid totaled $5,537,000.  
  • Johnson C. Smith University is committed to using its assets in assisting our students with their educational needs.  We have highly motivated and talented students who deserve our assistance, especially when their family resources are stretched nearly to the breaking point.


Below this letter is a document entitled “Frequently Asked Question and Answers.”  It addresses additional point of information regarding the University’s Accreditation and our process for completing our Reaffirmation for Accreditation, which we will diligently work towards over the next twelve months.   

The Holiday mood is becoming more and more contagious as December is now the month on the calendar.  I wish you a Season Greetings and a Growing Edge New Year.



Ronald L. Carter  


Cathy Jones

Associate Dean First Year Experience





Johnson C. Smith University ha s been regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC) since 1933. Regional accreditation is critical in higher education because it permits students access to federally subsidized financial aid, and confirms that courses and degrees will be recognized by other institutions and agencies across the country.

Every ten ye ars, SACSCOC member institutions go through a process of reaffirmation of accreditation to ensure that they maintain continuing compliance with Commission policies and with The Principles of Accreditation . This process involves a collective analysis and j udgment by the institution’s internal constituencies, an informed review by peers external to the institution, and a reasoned decision by the elected members of the SACSOC Board of Trustees.

Is the university still accredited?

Yes. While the action taken by SACSCOC place d JCSU on probation, the university continues to be accredited for good cause. The institution’s accreditation is continued for good cause because it demonstrated significant recent accomplishments in addressing financial concerns, and do cumented that it has the potential to remedy all deficiencies within the extended period of time.

How does the decision affect student financial aid?

The decision does not affect student financial aid. The university remains accredited by SACSCOC and is thus still recognized by the U.S. Department of Education in the Database of Accredited Postsecondary Institutions and Programs to offer and award federal financial aid to eligible students.

How does the decision impact a student’s degree?

The SACSCOC san ction did not arise from concerns about the quality of JCSU’s educational programs. JCSU students will continue to receive a first - class education and will remain highly competitive for employment and advanced education opportunities.

Why was JCSU placed on probation with SACSCOC?

SACSCOC placed JCSU on probation for a twelve - month period at the December 2017 Annual Meeting in Dallas, Texas. This sanction was given following a review by SACSCOC Board of Trustees of materials submitted by the university r egarding CS 3.10.1 (Financial stability) and CS 3.10.3 (Control of finances) of the Principles of Accreditation , and questions raised concerning the auditor’s decision to include a statement that basically contradicted the approved clean audit.

How long will JCSU be on probation?

The probationary period is for 12 months. It is anticipated that SACSCOC will review JCSU’s accreditation status at the December 2018 Annual Meeting in New Orleans.   



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