RALEIGH, N.C. — St. Augustine's College has a 137-year history of educating African-American students. Now, the future of the college may not live up to its storied past.
Last fall, the college was slapped with probation by a regional accrediting agency because of its financial shortcomings.
"It's a challenge. It's on my watch," said Dr. Dianne Boardley Suber, president of St. Augustine's College.
Suber said the penalty does not consider the mission of historically black institutions.
"You're going to have first generational kids. You're going to have kids from families that are disenfranchised from the mainstream," she said. "You're going to have a population of children that are going to find paying for college a challenge."
Suber recently held a town hall meeting to answer students concerns about the sanctions.
"That is always a big concern for me because I'm about to graduate, and for people who I know are previous graduates, we don't want to lose our accreditation," senior Crystal Tate said.
Tate and other seniors want to make sure their degrees will be valuable once they graduate.
"Even though there's been speculation, we just got to stay behind the president and trust that it will work out," senior Morgan Middleton said.
"In the long run, this is a fixable situation, very fixable and we're committed to doing that," Suber said.
A recent memo by the Board of Trustees indicates the endowment is back up to more than $17 million. After two consecutive years in the red, the school reported a surplus at the end of the last fiscal year. A report by the accrediting agency about St. Augustine's financially stability is due in September.