December 2017 Update.

Latest Update: February 26, 2018


Dear Students,

I would like to take this opportunity to bring you up to date on our recent meeting with the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC). The primary purpose of the day-long meeting was to help us prepare and plan for Belmont Abbey College’s regularly scheduled ten-year reaffirmation in 2020. After the meeting was over we met with representatives of SACSCOC, and I want to share with you what was discussed.

Here are the most important facts:

  1. Belmont Abbey College remains fully accredited by SACSCOC.
  2. The College is in compliance with the overarching financial core requirement which emphasizes a sound financial base and demonstrated financial stability to support the mission of the College.
  3. SACSCOC emphasized that the College needed to have a sufficient cash reserve on hand above and beyond that needed to operate the College.
  4. During our discussion, we learned that SACSCOC is placing a greater emphasis on two areas that were not of issue for the College during its 2010 reaffirmation.
    1. The Monastery and the College have successfully operated for a 142 years, as non-profit organizations, on a cash basis; SACSCOC recommends we use the accrual, rather than the cash based method specifically in our unrestricted operations. We are in process of complying with their recommendation and will report an accrual based surplus in the 2017-18 fiscal year.
    2. Our financial strength has allowed us to consistently invest in student scholarships, new faculty hires and facility enhancements. SACSCOC’s has recommended that the College establish a cash reserve as a rainy day fund. We are initiating plans to address their recommendation.
  5. The College is in full compliance with all of SACSCOC’s other requirements and standards.

The next step in this process is for us to file a follow-up report in the fall of 2018 noting how we are addressing SACSCOC’s recommendations. In the meantime, I want to assure you that your Belmont Abbey education has never been more valuable, nor more respected. We have grown significantly over the last several years – in fact, we’re the fastest growing Catholic undergraduate college in America. We have welcomed more traditional students than ever in the last three years and good things like enhancements to student scholarships, the library and science building renovations, new athletic programs, and a top 10 ranking in U.S. News & World Report are all a mark of a College on the rise.

I invite you to join me in the upcoming Student Government Association (SGA) Town Hall meeting (March 5th at 7:00 p.m.) to answer any questions you may have. I also invite you to share this message with your parents.

Our Board of Trustees, our faculty and administration, and the Benedictine community are doing everything possible to ensure that Belmont Abbey College will continue to uphold our longstanding tradition of excellence. We are committed to your success, and I am confident that we will resolve this matter for the betterment of our College.

God bless,
DRT Sign

Dr. William K. Thierfelder

Questions & Answers

Accreditation is the recognition that an institution maintains standards requisite for its graduates to gain admission to other reputable institutions of higher learning or to achieve credentials for professional practice. The goal of accreditation is to ensure that education provided by institutions of higher education meets acceptable levels of quality. There are six regional higher education accreditors in the United States.
The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC) is the recognized regional accrediting body in the eleven U.S. Southern states (Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas and Virginia) and in Latin America for those institutions of higher education that award associate, baccalaureate, master’s or doctoral degrees.
Accreditation is a major indicator of the quality of education provided at an institution. To receive federal (and sometimes state) grants and loans, students must attend an accredited institution. Employers often require accreditation when reviewing candidate credentials, and as a stipulation for providing tuition assistance to employees or donations to an institution.
Belmont Abbey College remains fully accredited during this period and probation has no impact on federal funding, financial aid or a student’s current academic status. The quality of your education, all student services, and your overall experience at Belmont Abbey College will continue as normal. Note, large schools like Baylor University, University of Louisville, UNC-Chapel Hill and many others have gone through probation in recent years and retained their accreditation.
No, none of Belmont Abbey College’s academic or extracurricular programs are under any kind of review.
The college is taking several steps to address the recommendations of our accrediting agency and remove the probationary status (See President’s Update). The Board of Trustees, Monastic Community, President and Administration are working to implement SACSCOC’s recommendations and ensure the long-term financial strength of the College.
For questions concerning financial matters please contact Mr. Allan Mark , CFO and for questions regarding academic and SACSCOC procedural matters please contact Dr. David Williams.
  • December 2017 — BAC placed on probation regarding standard CS 3.10.1 (now standard 13.3 under the revised 2018 Principles of Accreditation)
  • September 2018 — Third Monitoring Report due to SACSCOC.
  • October 2018 — SACSCOC Special Committee to visit BAC campus.
  • December 2018 — SACSCOC to review the report of the Special Committee. Probation can be lifted or continued an additional year for good cause.