The Augusta Chronicle 

Paine College is dropping 35 students as a result of nonpayment of tuition, a “tough decision” being made to reduce the college’s debt and help remove Paine from a probation sanction with its accrediting body, according to Interim President Samuel

In a statement released Wednesday, Sullivan said the students have balances as high as $12,000 stretching over 18 months and administrators have taken intensive measures – like visiting students in their dormitories; making phone calls and sending e-mails – to encourage them to pay.

“Although this is unfortunate, we must protect the college’s financial future and work to be in compliance with the guidelines that were set forth by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges,” Sullivan said in the statement. “This is the last thing we want to do, but we must be held accountable.”

The purge accounts for only 5 percent of the college’s 699 students, according to enrollment figures on Paine’s Web site, but it comes as administrators continue an aggressive fundraising campaign to strengthen the college’s financial base and rectify past managerial failures that led to accreditation trouble.

The commission placed Paine on probation in June for violating 10 accreditation standards ranging from management of federal student financial aid to employing qualified financial officers. The probation, the most severe sanction possible and final step before accreditation is revoked, came after two years on a less severe warning sanction for similar violations.

In general, dropping students for nonpayment is not uncommon and most colleges withdraw students automatically by a certain date in the semester if their accounts are not settled, according to Mike Reilly, the executive director of the American Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers.

Many institutions do not allow students to begin a new semester if they have unpaid charges from the previous term.

“There’s an expectation that you pay your tuition,” Reilly said.

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