Newsone is reporting that Morris Brown College is expected to settle nearly $10 million in debt for pennies on the dollar in an agreement pending with the U.S. Education Department, according to a letter obtained by the Associated Press.
In the April 7 letter, the Education Department said that it will forgive more than $9.4 million in debt, provided that Morris Brown pays the remaining $500,000. The deal would help the historically black institution overcome a major hurdle in its efforts to regain accreditation.
The AP reported, "We have been working on getting this debt addressed for a year," said Morris Brown President Stanley Pritchett. "This is a game changer for the college. There are other financial challenges, but this will help to open the door … to resolving our other issues.”
Morris Brown lost its accreditation in 2003, after President Dolores Cross was forced to resign from the college. In 2006 she pleaded guilty to allegations of financial mismanagement but has since denied any wrongdoing, saying that she took a plea deal to spare her family a public trial in an effort to move on with her life.
The scheme contributed to Morris Brown's massive debt, which currently totals around $30 million. The school owes money to vendors and other creditors. Pritchett, who came in as interim president in 2008, says that most of the debt is about a decade old. The debt represents years' worth of unused federal aid that the school was supposed to return to the government.
It is always good to see people pulling together to restore an institution to its former glory, particularly one known for producing great teachers. Hopefully, this time around, administrators will make ethical decisions and keep the institution's financial affairs in order. Founders, students, faculty and alumni deserve better.
Read more at Newsone.