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In clear: VSU accreditation

Jeremy Lazarus | 6/29/2016, 7:46 a.m.
Virginia State University is back in the good graces of its accrediting agency. The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools ...
Dr. Abdullah

Virginia State University is back in the good graces of its accrediting agency.

The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS) voted June 16 to remove VSU from “warning” status and restore the Petersburg area university to unblemished accreditation.

The decision ends a year of uncertainty for VSU, which has been on warning since June 2015. Warning status means SACS has found a school is not fully meeting accrediting standards and needs to address specific issues.

VSU’s new president, Dr. Makola M. Abdullah, put a priority on getting the warning label lifted since arriving Feb. 1.

“Over the past few months, we have worked diligently to provide documentation” to address SACS’ concerns, Dr. Abdullah stated, and to assure SACS that VSU is “devoting the necessary resources to not only meet, but to exceed these accreditation standards.”

That includes responding to SACS’ concerns about the relationship between the university and the independent VSU Real Estate Foundation.

Dr. Abdullah stated that the scrutiny from SACS “afforded us the opportunity to be intentional about enhancing policies, programs, services and operations. We are confident that the (SACS decision) will further secure VSU’s sustainability as a highly effective and fiscally stable university dedicated to providing opportunities for a quality education. We have remained committed to this mission since 1882.”

VSU Rector Harry Black, chairman of the VSU Board of Visitors, praised Dr. Abdullah and his staff for working “tirelessly to ensure that VSU met and exceeded … standards. Congratulations to the professionals at VSU for continuing to provide excellent academic opportunities for students.”

VSU reported enrolling 4,696 undergraduate and graduate students in August 2015, or about 400 fewer students than in August 2014, and about 1,100 fewer than in August 2013.

Dr. Abdullah is pushing to rebuild enrollment and stated that he expects the SACS decision to assist VSU in attracting more students.