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Morris Brown College regains accreditation

After nearly 20 years, the Atlanta HBCU has reached its goal.

ATLANTA — After nearly 20 years, Morris Brown College has regained its accreditation.

A spokesperson with the liberal arts college announced Tuesday the historically Black institution regained full accreditation.

The school was put in limbo, losing its federal funding in 2002 after financial mismanagement. Last year, it gained candidacy with President Kevin James calling it "a new day for Morris Brown College." The accreditation marks a new era.

The Transnational Association of Christian Colleges and Schools (TRACS), a Virginia-based accreditation agency recognized by the U.S. Department of Education granted the 141-year-old college its candidacy last year. MBC's website cites it as a member of TRACS.

The college was previously accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.

Just before the end of 2021, the U.S. Department of Education also reinstated the college's participation in the federal program, meaning students have been able to apply for federal grants, scholarships and work-study jobs this year as the institution worked toward full accreditation status. It costs about $4,250 a semester to attend MBC, according to James. 

Advocates for the school's accreditation said its journey to be a federally recognized institution is important to Atlanta's history and for future generations.

"Morris Brown College is unique to the Atlanta experience when we talk about historically Black colleges and universities," Maurice Hobson a civil rights and Atlanta scholar said in a previous interview with 11Alive's Jennifer Bellamy.

"Morris Brown College was the first college in the state of Georgia that was owned and operated purely and solely by Black people," Hobson said.

Hobson said the narrative regarding misappropriation of funds shouldn't shadow the college's rich history and the significance MBC holds in Georgia, calling its journey to accreditation another example of resilience -- which Morris Brown has become known as it stands out among HBCUs.

"It is going to take new and innovative ways of understanding college education and what Morris Brown College can be than what it's been in the past," he said about its leadership and the college's future.

Hobson added that there are advocates, alumni, HBCU alumni, supporters, and other members of the Black community invested in and rooting for MBC.

"We all want to see Morris Brown win," he said. "If Morris Brown wins, then Atlanta ultimately wins."

There are 107 HBCUs in the U.S. recognized by the Department of Education. Of those 107, three are closed and two are at risk of losing their accreditation, records show.

Morris Brown is no longer one of them.


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