Below are answers to frequently asked questions regarding Bennett College and the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).

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Bennett College is an accredited member of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).

In December 2018, Bennett College was informed by SACSCOC that it was being removed from membership due to inadequate financial resources. Bennett filed an appeal and embarked on a fundraising campaign. Despite the overwhelming success of the campaign, SACSCOC reaffirmed its decision to remove Bennett from membership in February 2019.

Bennett immediately pursued legal action and SACSCOC agreed to a Consent Order that reinstated Bennett College as a member of SACSCOC on probation, pending further Order of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia.
Based on similar cases, the appeals and legal process could take up to 18 – 24 months to be fully resolved. Bennett remains fully accredited throughout all phases of this process.
Yes, in addition to wanting to remain an accredited member of SACSCOC, Bennett College is pursuing a dual membership with the Transnational Association of Christian Colleges and Schools (TRACS). An Application Orientation visit was held on March 14, 2019. We anticipate the TRACS membership process will take 9-12 months.
The leadership of Bennett College is committed to sharing information as quickly as possible and transparency in every step of the process.

For example, when SACSCOC posted their membership decision at noon on February 29, 2019, President Dawkins prepared and sent a letter to the College Community within 3 hours that included an updated on the successful injunction that had been obtained ensuring Bennett’s continued accreditation.

Bennett continues to hold ongoing meetings with students and faculty to address concerns about accreditation, and has designated a section on its website to provide updated information.
There is no guarantee the lawsuit will take 2 years. The timeframe is contingent upon the Order of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia. The process for other institutions such as Paine College have averaged at least 18 months.
In December 2018, SACSCOC informed Bennett that it should raise $5 million before the February 2019 appeals hearing to address concerns about its financial stability. Bennett raised $8.3 million in verified gifts (an amount that has now exceeded $9.5 million) and presented this information during the College’s appeals hearing. However, the SACSCOC Appeals Committee found that Bennett College “failed to show that the institution possesses resources demonstrating a stable financial base to support the mission and scope of programs and services.” Because Bennett strongly disagreed with this finding, Bennett pursued and was awarded a Court Order to remain accredited by SACSCOC until the legal appeals process has been resolved.
No, these were not factors in the accreditation decision by SACSCOC. Bennett has received clean audits of its financial records. The College was cited for lack of cash on hand, which simply means Bennett did not have a steady “cash flow” to operate. The Stand With Bennett Campaign exceeded the financial objective set by SACSCOC.
Bennett has developed and is implementing a sustainability plan which includes:
  1. Activating a Bennett College Re-Engineering Committee.
  2. Revising the Business Model for the college.
  3. Increasing fundraising to grow the endowment and support institutional scholarship awards.
  4. Growing enrollment.
  5. Increasing retention.
  6. Continuing to balance the budget and generate a surplus annually.
Progress on each of these initiatives will be shared in the coming months.
No, graduating seniors will receive a degree accredited by SACSCOC in May 2019.
There are no plans to close Bennett College. However, the closure of any college or loss of accreditation does not impact past graduates of the institution or the ability of current seniors to be accepted into graduate programs. For all other Bennett students, the College remains accredited throughout the appeal process.
No, students do not need to transfer or apply to other institutions prior to the court’s decision. The College recommends that all students complete the spring 2019 semester at Bennett and return for the fall 2019 semester.

If students are interested in transferring to another college, they should understand the college/university transfer policy. All institutions have a maximum number of credits that can transfer into their institution; therefore, a student may not be allowed to transfer all courses into another institution based upon their transfer policy. It is important these transfer specific questions be addressed with the receiving institution.

Students will have to apply for admissions to the college/university of their choice, including colleges/universities in the Greensboro area. The Office of the Registrar will follow normal processing procedures when a transcript request is received.

Please read the Joint Statement on the Transfer of Award of Credit published by the American Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers (AACRAO), the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA), and the American Council on Education (ACE) for additional information.
Students maintain their federal financial aid, scholarships, and/or UNCF scholarships because Bennett is still accredited by SACSCOC. As with all financial aid awarded, the Department of Education requires recipients to maintain satisfactory academic progress (SAP) that monitors GPA and completion rates. Students are required to maintain a 2.0 cumulative GPA and a 66.7% completion rate to remain eligible to receive federal financial aid. Federal loans are considered federal financial aid and will remain available to those who qualify. Additionally, students awarded scholarships must maintain the GPA requirements as outlined with the scholarship.
All funds received from the campaign, as well as other donations and contributions, are being used to advance Bennett’s mission. The majority of funds from the campaign were “Unrestricted” contributions that will be used for projects that benefit the college. “Restricted” contributions will be used for the specific purpose intended by the donor such as endowments, scholarships or building renovations.
We thank HPU for investing in Bennett College’s future! There were no restrictions placed on any donations received from HPU.
Bennett College will either be accredited by SACSCOC or TRACS, or by both.

Our mission at Bennett College is to prepare women of color through a transformative liberal arts education to lead with purpose, integrity, and a strong sense of self-worth. Bennett provides educational access to students while promoting inquiry, civic engagement, social justice, lifelong learning, and equity for all. Our vision is for Bennett College to be renowned for its intimate, engaging learning community that produces phenomenal women scholars and global leaders.

Bennett College’s undergirding philosophy is that a high-quality college experience should provide its women students with strong academic and co-curricular programs that encourage their personal development, endorse life-long learning, and prepare them to meet the needs of an ever-changing society.
YES! Bennett College has received more than 4,000 applications for Fall 2019 enrollment and is continuing to attract new students through college fairs, high school visits, phone calls, campus visits, social media, etc. We are continuing our recruiting efforts as normal, while also evaluating additional forms of marketing tools to enhance our current strategies.
Our first priority is for students to focus on their academic classes and educational opportunities. We hope every student will continue to pursue their higher education dreams at Bennett and remain part of our family. We will continue our fundraising efforts as part of the overall strategy to ensure Bennett’s long-term success. All constituents interested in helping with fundraising efforts should direct donors to bennett.edu/standwithbennett/.

The College does not recommend starting a GoFundMe accounts as it is counterproductive to the overall fundraising goals. Questions about fundraising efforts should be directed to the Office of Institutional Advancement:

LaDaniel Gatling
Vice President for Institutional Advancement
(336) 517-1761
ladaniel.gatling@bennett.edu

Crystal Hall
Executive Assistant to the Vice President for Institutional Advancement
(336) 517-2248
clhall@bennett.edu

WHY WOMEN CHOOSE BENNETT

For nearly 150 years women have found Bennett to be the ideal place to foster the constant rhythm of ideas. Each student’s individual need for self-expression and desire for achievement is constantly nurtured. The College fosters a strong respect for every student. Today, in the midst of a very active renaissance, Bennett is preparing contemporary women to be well educated, productive professionals, informed, participating citizens, and enlightened parents.

The goals of the College continue to focus on the intellectual, spiritual and cultural growth of young women who must be prepared for lifelong learning and leadership. Since 1930 more than 5,000 women have graduated from Bennett College. Known as Bennett Belles, they continue to be among contributing women of achievement in all walks of life.

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