Provost says he’s confident of OK by SACS

Dillard University’s provost said he is confident Dillard’s progress with strengthening internal financial controls will mean the lifting of accreditation probation within the next academic year.

Dr. David Taylor, who also is vice president of academic affairs, said the university has turned in its audits and other paperwork to the Southern Association for Colleges and Schools, or SACS, and now is awaiting an on-site visit from a SACS team.

“I believe that Dillard has nothing to worry about,” said Dr. David Taylor, who also is vice president of academic affairs, in a recent interview. “The staff has spent countless hours reorganizing the financial structure.”

SACS, the regional accrediting body for more than 13,000 schools in the United States and overseas, accredits schools to signify that they have achieved certain standards in both administrative operations and education. Accreditation not only validates the quality of education, but determines whether or not federal financial aid can be provided to students who attend.

SACS placed Dillard on probation last June 27 because of the need to strengthen internal controls, meaning the university could not track and trace all of its financial resources. It was given a 12-month deadline to resolve the problem.

Prior to this action, according to the university Web site, the university had been placed on warning for six months by SACS pre-Katrina, with the warning lifted once the required financials were submitted.

Taylor said the university is restructuring its business and finance office and has a new chief financial officer. It has retained an experienced accounting firm to write financial control policy and procedures, and personnel are being evaluated and trained.

The administration issued a statement on its Web site noting that Dillard remains fully accredited and enrollment nor students’ eligibility for government funding, scholarships and/or grants unaffected. It also noted that this issue was inherited by the current administration