Good news! Famed HBCU Morris Brown College is a bit closer to regaining their accreditation after 18 years.
“Morris Brown College accreditation application approved,” reporter Shon Gables tweeted on November 11. “The Atlanta #HBCU intends to become the first HBCU to earn its accreditation back 20 years after losing it.”
Morris Brown was the first college for Black students in Georgia.
Founded in Atlanta in January 1881, the private liberal arts college has always been closely affiliated with the African Methodist Episcopal Church—the first Black religious denomination in the country.
The college has experienced a number of financial issues in recent decades, one of which led to the school losing its accreditation in 2002. Within two years, the then-president, along with her financial aid director, were caught claiming that enrollment numbers were higher than they were. They also received student loans on behalf of attendees and used the money to keep the school afloat. The school’s president pleaded guilty on an embezzlement charge in 2006.
Once Morris Brown was no longer accredited, students could not receive federal financial aid. This led to enrollment dropping down to less than 10% almost immediately and it was feared that the school would shut its doors. Compounded by $30 million worth of debt, the HBCU filed for bankruptcy in 2012. The debt was erased, but the school then owed the AME church $4 million, which was forgiven by the church in January 2020.
A few notable celebrities who attended Morris Brown are comedian Sommore and the late Thomas J. Byrd.