Wilberforce University removed from HLC probation

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WILBERFORCE, Ohio (WDTN) – Staff at Wilberforce University said on Tuesday that the Higher Education Commission, one of the agencies that accredits degree-granting colleges and universities across the country, has lifted the school from its probation sanction.

The school was put on probation by the HLC in June 2018 after being found not to meet the organization’s accreditation criteria. University rector, academic director and HLC liaison officer Dr Johnny D. Jones said the school was working to make changes to remove the school from the probationary list.

“The Higher Education Commission has five standards and it has sub-standards under those five standards,” he said. “So when an institution does not meet these standards or [has] a history of non-compliance with some of these standards, the institution [is] put on probation. “

Johnson was initially hired as an external consultant in February 2021 to help get the school back on track after the HLC granted the school an extension due to its COVID-19 policy. His role in becoming a marshal was to help the school meet the basic 3C, 4C, 5A, 5C and 5D components of the HLC’s compliance plan:

  • The 3C Core Component requires each institution to have the faculty and staff necessary for effective and high-quality student programs and services.
  • 4C requires the institution to continue to improve education through goals and strategies that improve retention, persistence and completion rates in its degree and certificate programs.
  • 5A requires that through its administrative structures and collaborative processes, the institution’s leadership demonstrates that it is effective and enables the institution to fulfill its mission
  • 5C requires the institution to engage in systematic and integrated planning and improvement
  • 5D requires the institution to work systematically to improve its performance

Among the remedies, Johnson said a key part was getting the school’s finances back on track.

“It was really about making sure we wiped out some debt, [increasing] our CFI (Composite Financial Index) score, and we also make sure that we allocate resources and operate the institution based on the standard set by the HLC, ”he said.

He added that it was extremely important to remain accredited for the sake of the students, as only students from accredited schools can receive funding from the federal government. However, as the university strived to meet appropriate HLC standards, Johnson said the internship had no impact on the credit hours students could receive or transfer. He said it also did not affect students transferring credits to the school. And while the university had work to do to have its probationary status removed, Johnson said school staff never stopped working to provide promising opportunities for students.

“We just want [reassure] all students who have attended Wilberforce University or who were thinking of attending Wilberforce University that we are a fully accredited institution, “said Johnson,” and being a fully accredited institution we have identified some of our gaps and we have managed these shortcomings. Wilberforce has a long history – it’s been around since 1856 – and… as Academic Director and Liaison for the Commission on Higher Education, I’ll make sure we meet those standards.

Additionally, Johnson said the school is restructuring all of its academic programs so that students are industry-ready after graduation.

“We serve students who want to make sure they come to an institution that is doing what they’re supposed to do, and that’s what we had to do at Wilberforce University once I got there. So we keep moving forward and we will make sure we meet all the standards of our full visit in 2025 and continue to improve our institution by providing quality education to the citizens of the great state of Ohio and also beyond.


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