Keys college sheds 'warning' label after accreditation group finds the school's finances sound

lkahn@keynoter.comJune 21, 2014 

Florida Keys Community College is good to go, says the organization charged with overseeing it.

KEYSINFONET

The organization that accredits Florida Keys Community College on Thursday took the school off "warning" status because its finances have improved.

Losing that label is huge because if improvements weren't made, the school could have
been put on probation. Following probation is the possible loss of accreditation -- meaning FKCC students' credits wouldn't transfer to other schools and FKCC would lose access to federal student financial aid.

The Southern Association of College and School's Commission on Colleges took the vote Thursday, and now the college's accreditation, renewed in June 2012 for 10 years, doesn't appear to be in danger.

In June 2013, the association found that the college wasn't complying with various standards when it came to the school's finances. It also found the school failed to "make timely and significant progress toward correcting the deficiencies that led to the finding of noncompliance...."

The Southern Association, responsible for accrediting colleges in 11 states, had determined the school didn't have financial stability or control of research or other external funds.

Following Thursday’s vote, Beth Whelan, the association's Commission on Colleges president, said "they were able to demonstrate they satisfied all of our specifics. They cleared up all of those issues. They were able to show they are financially stable, they are in control of their finances."

The next time the association is scheduled to take a look at FKCC is in June 2017, when the school has to issue a "mid-cycle report" halfway into its 10-year accreditation.

"But we can go into an institution anytime," Whelan said. "If you caught wind of something that wasn't kosher, you could call us. They are off our radar until 2017 unless we get a major complaint or they self-report something."

FKCC President Jonathan Gueverra was out of the country and not available for comment Friday.

But Provost Brittany Snyder said when Gueverra came on board in 2012, he looked at all administrative jobs to see if there was overlap of duties and that kind of thing.

“He reorganized, we got a 2 percent reduction in salary and benefits from that,” Snyder said.

She also said operational expenses that were $10.4 million in fiscal 2010 were down to $9.4 million in 2013. For fiscal year 2014, that figure should be even lower, she said.

“We have to make sure we’re living within our means.”

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