Saint Paul’s College, one of three Episcopal-founded historically black colleges in the country, will close on June 30. According to Diverse Issues in Higher Education, officials with the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools confirmed SPC’s intent to shutter earlier this week, after College officials notified the accreditation body of its intention by letter.
A spokesperson for the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS) confirmed that Belle S. Wheelan, president of the regional accrediting body, had received a May 28, letter from the chairman of the board of trustees at Saint Paul’s College notifying her of the decision to close the 125-year-old institution. Efforts to reach Board Chairman Oliver W. Spencer Jr., were unsuccessful.
In recent years, SACS cited Saint Paul’s for a series of deficiencies and violations, among them the lack of financial stability and too many faculty without terminal degrees. The college was eventually stripped of its accreditation. A federal judge later issued a preliminary injunction, allowing the college to keep its accreditation on a probationary basis so that Saint Paul’s could continue to enroll students and hold classes. It opened last fall with about 111 students.
In the coming weeks, the focus at Saint Paul’s will be the business of shuttering the rural 184-acre campus. According to documents obtained by Diverse, those efforts will include notifying teen parents enrolled in the College’s Single Parent Support System Program that they will no longer be able live on campus or pursue a degree there. Close-out plans will also mean satisfying faculty and staff contracts, and transferring students to neighboring Virginia institutions, such as Norfolk State University and Virginia Union, selling off more than $30 million in property and buildings, and settling debts.