A regional college accreditation board has sanctioned Howard Payne University by placing it on “Warning” status for 12 months. The sanction, imposed by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC) Board of Trustees, relates to HPU’s cancelled bachelor of science in nursing program.
    HPU is accredited by SACSCOC, but was placed on Warning on June 15 after review of the degree and unsolicited information from the Texas State Board of Nursing, a disclosure statement from SACSCOC states.
    In June 2018, the board will consider HPU’s accreditation status following review of a monitoring report that addresses the areas of non-compliance.
    There are several possibilities that could occur including removing the university from Warning, continuing Warning and removing accreditation.
    “The concerns are related solely to our challenges in implementing a nursing program,” HPU President Dr. Bill Ellis said in a written statement.
    “It is important to note that the SACSCOC designation, which we take seriously, does not impede the operation of our institution nor undermine our ability to award degrees. While the Commission’s action is disappointing, this level of sanction allows the university to take corrective action as it continues to admit and educate students.”
    HPU remains committed to the regional accreditation process and will cooperate fully with SACSCOC to demonstrate compliance, Ellis said.
    SACSCOC will send a special visiting committee to review HPU’s progress next spring, Ellis said. “We are confident we will successfully address the issues raised well before that time,” he said.
    HPU was placed on Warning because the board determined HPU was deficient in areas including failure to operate with integrity with regard to its bachelor of science in nursing program, the SACSCOC disclosure statement states.
    Nine former students who enrolled in the nursing program have filed lawsuits seeking $200,000 to $1 million each from the university.

The lawsuits, filed by the Houston law office of Richard Schechter, claims HPU made “false and misleading representations” to the public.

   SACSCOC’s Public Disclosure Statement regarding Howard Payne University is available at http://www.sacscoc.org/2017JuneActionsanddisclosurestatements/Howard%20Payne%20U%20-%20CAB.pdf