After a years-long investigation, UNC has cleared another hurdle with its accrediting body.
The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges Board of Trustees reaffirmed the University of North Carolina’s accreditation for the next 10 years at the board’s meeting on Tuesday.
The university announced the renewal in a release Tuesday evening.
The decision comes two months after the conclusion of the NCAA investigation into the paper-class scandal that has plagued the university over the last several years.
That investigation led to SACS placing UNC on probation, which is the harshest step the body can take except for stripping the university’s accreditation entirely. After that yearlong probationary period, the university was placed back on full accreditation status. That return to full status came after the university put more than 70 reforms in place after the discovery of the so-called paper classes.
Reports from the News & Observer suggested that SACS would take another review of UNC’s accreditation after the NCAA Committee on Infractions issued its final report following the NCAA investigation. That report prompted SACS president Belle Wheelan to issue a letter to the UNC administration assuring officials that the accrediting agency would not be reopening the investigation and apologizing for “any anxiety the article caused.”
The N&O responded to the letter from Wheelan by releasing the audio recording of the interview that resulted in the initial article.
Tuesday’s decision officially clears UNC’s accreditation status moving forward.
“One very important aspect of reaccreditation is that it creates a structured process for universities to look closely at all aspects of the institution and into the areas that are vital to operations,” Chancellor Carol Folt said in a release. “Reaccreditation is a massive undertaking by so many on our campus, and I am grateful for the leadership of former Provost Jim Dean, Assistant Provost for Institutional Research and Assessment Lynn Williford and the hundreds of faculty and staff who have worked tirelessly to meet the rigorous requirements of this important external review.”
Universities under SACS governance undergo a full accreditation review every 10 years.
File photo of UNC Chancellor Carol Folt via Blake Hodge