SAVANNAH, Ga (WSAV) – For five months now, South University has been on probation by the Southern Association of Colleges. The probation puts the school in jeopardy of losing accreditation. That would hurt any degree from the dozens of programs at the school.
South was placed on probation because, “the institution failed to demonstrate compliance” with the financial stability rules according to a SACS public release. That came after reports of poor financial management and questionable practices by the parent company, Education Management Corporation (EDMC).
Dating back to a 2009 report, the US Senate HELP committee analysis of EDMC concluded “it is not clear that the $1.8 billion taxpayers made in the company in 2010 is a worthwhile investment,” as well as that the company took part in “sometimes questionable practices to ensure that the requirement is satisfied,” surrounding the requirement that no more than 90% of revenues came from Federal support.
Reviews from SACS took place later than when the report caught media attention. In fact SACS reported it began its own review after news was brought to light with the financial issues EDMC was facing.
The university leaders at the time of the 2016 probation notice had this to say: “South University was placed on probation due to financial concerns surrounding its parent company, Education Management Corporation (EDMC),” adding that, “South University is financially stable, and continues to annually increase the amount it spends on educational services and campus expansions and improvements.”
Since then, the parent company has had the “for sale” sign up and plans to sell the school to a LA non-profit. They announced in March the sale would go through. However, that will take time as the sale requires approval at the national level.
University officials are hopeful the sale will help expand the university’s programs for students.
“We expect that this opportunity will open up even more possibilities for those who study and work at South University. Upon closure of the transaction, we anticipate new scholarship options for our students, and that many of our talented faculty members will be eligible for additional research grants in their fields. I’m excited about what the future holds for South University, and I’m looking forward to leading us into the next chapter in our institution’s proud history,” said South University Chancellor John T. South, III in a statement.
It’s expected to become final near the beginning of the new school year, which could help when SACS comes to town in the fall to review South’s probation status.