Virginia Intermont College President Clorisa Phillips plans to file an appeal next week to fight her school’s loss of accreditation with the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
VI’s accreditation was removed Thursday, the school was informed.
“The trustees and I were very surprised, very disappointed with this news, but nonetheless we’re moving on,” Phillips said in a video posted on YouTube explaining how the news affects students.
Next week, Phillips said the appeal will be filed and discussions will begin with SACS personnel.
“While that goes on, our accreditation is completely intact,” Phillips said in the video. “And that also means that students’ financial aid is intact and, of course, our academic programs and offerings are as good as they’ve always been.”
Phillips blamed the loss of accreditation on the school’s “historic weak” financial position.
“We have made improvement, but a committee determined subjectively that it was not enough improvement,” she said in the video.
Nothing is different for students, Phillips stressed in the video.
The college is not granting interviews, nor has any news conference been scheduled for the near future to discuss this matter further.
In an emailed statement, Phillips said she and her staff knows exactly what must be done to protect the college, students and accreditation.
She said in that statement that the appeal will be based on progress VI administrators have made while the school has been on probation with SACS. That progress includes reducing debt, the doubling of alumni giving, the adoption of best practices for depreciation and accounting methods, a higher than expected return on endowment funds and improved student performance that includes increased retention rates and a reduction in withdrawls and academic probations.
In the comment section on the YouTube video, someone asked what would happen if the appeal was lost.
Someone presumably from VI answered, saying if the appeal is lost and injunction would be filed and the school would locate a college interested in merging with the VI.