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House of Representatives
Session of 2019 - 2020 Regular Session


Posted: October 30, 2019 10:58 AM
From: Representative Stephen Kinsey and Rep. James R. Roebuck, Jr., Rep. Brian Kirkland
To: All House members
Subject: Cheyney University Accreditation
As you may know, Cheyney University – the oldest historically black university in the United States – is under threat of losing its accreditation status. In recent years, the school has experienced difficulties that have threatened its role in Pennsylvania’s higher education system, including a large deficit and significant enrollment drop. Last year, the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE) threatened to withdraw Cheyney University’s accreditation due to the school’s budget and debt accrual; their final hearing to determine Cheyney’s accreditation status will occur on November 21, 2019.

However, since MSCHE’s notice of possible accreditation withdrawal, Cheyney University has worked hard to remedy its many financial deficiencies. In 2018, the Fall Freshman retention rate reached over 70%, and the school closed the 2019 Fiscal Year with a $2.1 million surplus. Additionally, while Cheyney University has been busy working on bettering its financial situation, MSCHE also noted that “the university has provided…compelling evidence that the quality of student learning has not been compromised.” Cheyney University also ranks second best among Pennsylvania colleges for overall income mobility for students, many of whom come from low-income households.

Cheyney University was first established in 1837 during a time when there were not many opportunities for African-Americans to receive an education. The school honors the legacy of Historically Black Colleges and Universities everywhere and should be restored to its rightful place among them. Please join us in recognizing the importance of Cheyney University in Pennsylvania and supporting its reaccreditation into the MSCHE.

Introduced as HR610