Florida Memorial University‘s hard work and sacrifice has paid off with a restored accreditation! Learn more in the story by Jimena Tavel at the Miami Herald below.

Students celebrate during the Spring 2022 commencement ceremony at Florida Memorial University in Miami Gardens on Saturday, May 14, 2022. (Photo Credit: Pedro Porta

After eliminating 16 programs, cutting back staff and reorganizing with a focus on the future, Florida Memorial University announced Thursday its accreditation agency had restored it to good standing.

Last summer, the agency had placed it on probation, leading many to worry about the future of the Miami Gardens school, South Florida’s only historically Black university or college (HBCU).

“I am wonderful today,” said Jacqueline Hill, FMU’s provost and executive vice president. “With the great news we just received, I’m absolutely excited.”

The university will soon announce plans to celebrate this milestone in its history, which traces to 1879, said Sharee Gilbert, FMU’s director of communications and marketing.

While on probation, FMU risked losing its accreditation, which serves as national recognition that it’s a reputable institution and is a requisite to qualifying for government funds.

FMU was put on probation because it didn’t comply with all of the standards required by its accreditation agency, the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC). The problems were rooted in financial difficulties due to a drop in enrollment. FMU has boosted its enrollment slightly.

In 2012, student enrollment peaked at 1,878 and had declined every year since to a low of 915 in 2021. In the 2022 school year, enrollment rose slightly to 963 students.

To stabilize its finances, FMU reduced by 10% the salaries of more than 80 employees who make $60,000 or above, discontinued 16 undergraduate degree programs and eliminated 15 faculty positions.

Hill said that by being in good standing, FMU is in compliance with all SACSCOC standards.

“This lifts a burden. It’s an opportunity for growth,” Hill said. “Now we can continue on as an institution; we can increase the momentum in our enrollment and expand our academic programming.”

SACSCOC notified FMU President Jaffus Hardrick of the change in status Thursday.

Prior to that official sign-off, five top administrators — Hill; Hardrick; William C. McCormick Jr., the chairman of the FMU Board of Trustees; Rodney Sobelson, FMU’s CFO; and Adrienne Cooper, FMU’s vice provost for institutional research and effectiveness — traveled to Tampa on Tuesday to answer questions before the SACSCOC Board of Trustees for about 40 minutes, Hill said.

About 77 administrators and academics from other colleges and universities in Southern states sit on the SACSCOC board, which reviewed a report produced earlier this year by a four-person SACSCOC committee.

In March, that committee reviewed a 263-page report submitted by FMU regarding its progress on addressing the four key issues that had landed the school on probation: core requirement 4.1b (governing board characteristics); standard 13.3 (financial responsibility); standard 13.4 (control of finances); and standard 13.6 (federal and state responsibilities).

In April, the committee visited FMU to interview administrators, tour the facilities and review additional documents.