Fisk University is celebrating an administrative win: It’s no longer on probation with the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, which oversees accreditation for universities in Tennessee.
Fisk landed on probation status list three years ago, over concerns about its finances. At the time, enrollment was down and the school had dipped into its endowment. It also had a round of layoffs, eliminating more than 25 positions at the school.
But interim president Vann Newkirk says now, the budget has never been stronger.
“We’ve turned that around from a $5 million deficit to a $7 million surplus. We’ve got the largest enrollment that we’ve had probably since the late ’90s, this fall,” he says.
Part the budget boost comes from the school’s growth in fundraising, which had already started by 2018 but has continued to rise.
Fisk also gained formal approval from SACS this week for its first non-Nashville location, a site in Clarksville that opened to students last year.
The revised status and strong financials will help the school weather the pandemic, Newkirk says.
“We fully expect Fisk to grow during this time,” he says. “That in itself is a testament to what we’ve done as a university.”
Meanwhile, Tennessee State University also announced that it’s been removed from probationary status. It had received a SACS sanction last year related to how it assessed its academic programs.
This story was updated on Sept. 4 to add TSU’s announcement.