FAMU accreditation is back on track

The Southern Association for Colleges and Schools (SACS) Thursday lifted the probation of Florida A&M University and reinstated their accreditation.

During its annual meeting, SACS removed FAMU from probation and requested no further reports.

“We have been able to solve and address the critical issues that threatened the very existence of this university,” said FAMU President James H. Ammons.

SACS placed FAMU on probation on June 29, 2007 for 35 findings in the 2005-2006 operational audit and 13 findings in the 2005-2006 financial audit.

“Our intent was to restore the public’s trust in the university’s ability to handle its finances,” Ammons said. “And I believe this entire process has sent a strong and clear message to the state and our stakeholders that FAMU is in good hands.”

The Board of Governors task force on FAMU’s finances concluded Wednesday that the university addressed 92 percent of the findings. They also found that FAMU has procedures in place to focus on the remaining eight percent.

Students couldn’t have been more ecstatic with the news.

“Thank God, my degree will be accredited,” said Tanisha Edwards, a senior MBA senior.

The 24-year-old student from Fort Lauderdale said he focus was more so on the school’s accreditation than her graduation. And FAMU’s probation was unacceptable in her mind for an institution of higher learning.

“The legacy of FAMU must continue and this is a step in the right direction,” she said.

Katondra Myers, 21, said she’s enthusiastic about the direction FAMU now that the school is off probation.

“Our school is full of spirit and rattler pride and I am proud to say that our legacy is preserved,” said the senior elementary education student from West Palm Beach.

SACS first visited in October 2007 to evaluate the university’s financial affairs. The school was later visited by the state auditor’s office in November. Although the final audit report was finished, there was not enough time for it to be considered by SACS.

In December, SACS voted to extend the probation for another six months. The second report was submitted March 15, which summarized FAMU’s progress. SACS then sent a team to visit the campus to confirm the progression.

After the University was placed on probation, Ammons and his leadership team developed a corrective action plan to address the audit findings in the operational and financial audits.

And their efforts were proven successful Thursday.

“Campus morale is high, sound financial planning and accounting practices are in effect, and policies and procedures governing finances are operating effectively,” Ammons said.