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Paine given a year to correct financial mismanagement

Accrediting group gives school 12 months

Thursday, June 21, 2012 9:27 PM
Last updated Friday, July 6, 2012 8:54 PM
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Editor's Note: Because of a reporter's error, an earlier version of this story incorrectly reported the first name of Belle Wheelan, the president of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools' Commission on Colleges. The story has been changed to reflect this. The Chronicle regrets the errors.

The accrediting body for colleges in the Southeast on Thursday gave Paine College 12 months to correct financial mismanagement uncovered this year by The Augusta Chronicle in order to keep its accreditation.

The warning period was given to Paine by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools’ Commission on Colleges, an organization recognized by the U.S. Department of Education that is responsible for overseeing the operations of educational institutions.

Paine is in violation of six compliance standards related to financial resources, the quality of administrative and academic officers, financial stability, control of finances, sponsored research and external funds, and the control of financial aid programs, said Belle Wheelan, the president of the accrediting organization.

After the newspaper’s articles in April and May revealed mismanagement of federal funding by Paine, Wheelan said the organization asked the college to prove it was in compliance but the school couldn’t.

“Anytime we find out stuff is going on – and thanks to you all actually writing up in the newspaper things were not right – we wrote an inquiry to them asking to show they were in compliance,” Wheelan said. “The documents they sent back showed they were not in compliance.”

Paine, which received a 10-year accreditation in 2011, now has 12 months to correct its financial deficiencies or face further sanctions.

Paine President George Bradley said he doesn’t see the sanction as a punishment but as chance to create a plan to improve.

“That’s an excellent opportunity for us to move forward,” Bradley said. “That warning just gives us an opportunity.”

Bradley said the school has been trying to fix financial problems for the past six months. He said the school is giving its board of trustees quarterly reports on the progress and also will keep SACS informed.

“We should be fine,” he said.

In April, The Chronicle reported that Paine did not change enrollment statuses or return unused financial aid to the government after some students withdrew in fiscal year 2010-11, according to a March 22 financial audit of the 2009-10 and 2010-11 fiscal years by Augusta accounting firm Cherry, Bakeart and Holland.

The audit detailed the school’s lack of resources and knowledgeable personnel dedicated to preparing financial statements and managing federal money. In the fiscal year ending June 30, 2011, the college spent $500,000 more than it had in income and ended with $343,000 in available cash, compared with $1.1 million the year before.

Paine lost access until 2014 to the Federal Perkins Loan, a need-based program for students, after not properly accounting for the funding.

It did not have policies and procedures to administer the program, and more than 50 percent of students defaulted on the loan, adding to its ineligibility, according to the audit.

The audit also found that Paine did not correctly manage federal student aid programs by giving money to two students out of a 40-student sample who did not attend the school, did not return leftover federal financial aid after students withdrew and did not properly record withdrawal statuses for students.

Wheelan said that it is possible for Paine to return to compliance but that it might take the whole year. She said her organization’s board of trustees could have put Paine on a six-month warning but allowed more time because of the severity.

“We gave them 12 months to get their act together,” Wheelan said.

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Fiat_Lux
16435
Points
Fiat_Lux 06/21/12 - 09:02 pm
4
2
Well this is gonna' be interesting

And I hope the AC writers involved in this story don't end up wrenching their shoulders patting themselves on the back. Self-aggrandizement in the lead sentence is pretty tacky. At least make it the second or third.

livepura
49
Points
livepura 06/21/12 - 11:06 pm
3
0
All else fails
Unpublished

If all else fails, the new U will have more land for expansion and a new HEAL Center.

Craig Spinks
818
Points
Craig Spinks 06/22/12 - 12:51 am
3
0
F_L,

The phrase in question is an editorial insertion, if I've ever seen one.

Craig Spinks
818
Points
Craig Spinks 06/22/12 - 12:52 am
1
0
The good ole boys and gals at Paine...

aren't going quietly.

Be strong, Dr. Bradley.

Just My Opinion
6262
Points
Just My Opinion 06/22/12 - 03:57 am
5
0
Oh, no...I just had a very

Oh, no...I just had a very disturbing thought! If something did happen to Paine, and it had to close, when they reopened, would they have to
RENAME it???? Gosh...I don't think this town could handle another name-change!!

Riverman1
93700
Points
Riverman1 06/22/12 - 06:46 am
5
0
Oh my goodness, it's only

Oh my goodness, it's only money.

Dudeness
1546
Points
Dudeness 06/22/12 - 08:14 am
4
0
It sounds like they have been

It sounds like they have been hiring some unqualified people for positions they couldn't handle. It's time to clean house and start the hiring process over again.

Bizkit
35567
Points
Bizkit 06/22/12 - 08:28 am
4
0
I have a friend who works at

I have a friend who works at Paine and he states the financial problems have been going on for years so likely another year won't make any difference. No one has received a raise in over ten years and even promotion and tenure was frozen for faculty for five years (which is unethical because in most institutions you have 7 years to be promoted and finally seek tenure so anyone working there will be questioned if they seek employment elsewhere). The school has such bad credit it is difficult to even order supplies is another rant of the faculty. Obviously the present administration has mismanaged money and seems to act like no problemo. I predict Paine will lose its SACS accreditation. Maybe the dump will close (the conditions there are horrendous -lead paint peeling off walls, mold, asbestos, etc.) My friend said they fixed up the outside of the buildings but the insides are horrendous-says the Inspector General of OSHA would likely condemn certain buildings. Did you note the questioning of administrative and academic officers part-seems a red flag of incompetence at best.

Bizkit
35567
Points
Bizkit 06/22/12 - 08:31 am
4
0
"It sounds like they have

"It sounds like they have been hiring some unqualified people for positions they couldn't handle." Apparently the last group they fired was just the latest vetted group they hired to fix their financial problems-seems a revolving door of expert financial officers is the norm there.

Dudeness
1546
Points
Dudeness 06/22/12 - 08:57 am
4
0
Perhaps the person doing the

Perhaps the person doing the hiring should be replaced with someone competent enough to know what to look for in a candidate.

avidreader
3560
Points
avidreader 06/22/12 - 09:20 am
2
0
Just Wondering!

I was just wondering; are there any plans in the hopper to replace George Bradley? A fresh set of eyes can be a powerful solution, and many businesses benefit from this. However, maybe there's no one out there in education land who wants the job.

jenk1584
2
Points
jenk1584 06/22/12 - 10:36 am
0
6
Praying for my Paine College

Bizkit, please get your facts straight. If Paine was so bad, why is your friend still working there? I am a graduate of Paine College. Have you taken a look at the economy to see what companies are hiring and why raises are not been given. It's not only PaineCollege who has freezes on hiring or even on giving raises. Also apparently you are not educated to know that many old building were built years ago and still have abestoes. I actually work for a Fortune 500 company that has abestos under the concrete of the floors and OSHA has not condemn the building. If your friend thinks Paine is that bad, tell your friend to find work somewhere else. I wish I knew who your friend is because I who make sure he was fired. Tell him that!

runningbull
8
Points
runningbull 06/22/12 - 11:08 am
2
0
slippery slope

This is what you get when you bring in a rookie president and a rookie Vice president for Development. They fire all the seasoned professionals and manage with lies, chaos and intimidation. Bradley says this is an opportunity, I say it is an indication of the slippery slope to Morris Browndum. Where is the Board of Trustees? It seems they should put the President and the Vice President for Development on Warning or out the door. Paine has never been in this kind of situation until these rookies came in.

Bizkit
35567
Points
Bizkit 06/22/12 - 02:10 pm
3
0
Jenk. The facts are

Jenk. The facts are straight-do some investigating and read the audit published online. So you can get a faculty member fired for their right of free speech (also being legal protected by whistleblower laws) because you disagree? Apparently the person is in good standing, so if you could get them fired then likely another lawsuit would be pending and it would indicate that Paine is breaking laws. But the person maynot still be there and so the point would be moot, and I concede it could be just moanin' and groanin' and venting too. Apparently Bradley was brought on board to bring the school upto excellence status so he may be pushin' staff and faculty and they are just complaining about having extra duties and such. But as a graduate you should want the truth to be exposed no matter where it falls, and to be fair I hope they turn it around too. But man they've gotten a lot of bad press lately and the schools response are inane at best so they need to do something to turn things around as far as public image.

kmb413
533
Points
kmb413 06/22/12 - 02:11 pm
3
0
Bizkit is right

My dad retired from Paine. Everything Bizkit says is correct. Dad says he believes the college is doomed and will close it's doors.

Sweet son
11646
Points
Sweet son 06/22/12 - 02:38 pm
1
1
@Fiat

Whether it was the AC or other means that SACS discovered that Paine had problems it would seem to me that you would appreciate anyone or anything that brings to light abuse of our tax money. How inept can you be to think that things like this will not haunt you. Wonder what they did with the money they were supposed to return to the feds? Sounds like the administrative group needs to look at themselves very closely and decide if they want to do the right thing or just keep on with the sharades that have been going for some time. Don't get me wrong Paine has it's place but if it is not going to play by the rules it needs to go! Same for MCG and ASU!!!

KSL
143858
Points
KSL 06/22/12 - 03:07 pm
1
0
Jenk, I believe it is you who

Jenk, I believe it is you who needs educating. Look up asbestos. You will find out that it is dangerous when it is friable. You may have to look up "friable." Suffice it to say, I would not spend any time worrying about asbestos under concrete.

KSL
143858
Points
KSL 06/22/12 - 03:31 pm
0
0
Sweet son. Reread fiat's

Sweet son. Reread fiat's post. It is strictly about the editorial and the way it was written.

KSL
143858
Points
KSL 06/22/12 - 08:00 pm
2
0
Jenk, I can understand your

Jenk, I can understand your defense of Paine. No one wants their alma mata to lose its accreditation. My mother transferred from UGA to UNC when Georgia lost is accreditation.

UGA eventually got theirs back. Hope the Paine grads will rise to the occasion and require AND help their institution to right their course. Most colleges require some support from alums. The successful rely heavily.

KSL
143858
Points
KSL 06/22/12 - 08:06 pm
0
0
Mater not Mata. How on earth

Mater not Mata. How on earth did I post the medical spelling? I know, Spanish ending female was a. Forgot the Laitin pater and mater.

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