Selma University is accredited again

Published 10:59 pm Monday, February 23, 2009

After eight long years, Selma University has earned accredited from the Association for Biblical Higher Education.

Now, students can receive federal financial aid and transfer credits to other colleges and universities across the country.

“It means credibility and quality,” vice president of academic affairs the Rev. Stevenson Tullis said. “Our students will be able to compete wherever they may go.”

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President Dr. Alvin Cleveland Sr. said he expects the school’s enrollment to increase from its current number of about 150 students due to the ABHE accreditation.

“Anybody that goes to school wants to go to an accredited institution,” Cleveland said.

He said a student population this size is common for bible colleges. Some students prefer the school’s Christian environment and one-on-one interaction with faculty.

“Individual attention is your number one advantage,” Cleveland said. “That’s what is needed for a lot of students coming out of these small county schools.”

Selma University began the accreditation process in 2000. After four years, the school received candidate status, which means its faculty, finances and enrollment met ABHE standards. In order to receive full accreditation, the school maintained those standards for the next four years.

“They want to make sure they’re not going to stamp you, and the next year you fold,” Cleveland said.

Selma University offers programs in general studies that focus on business administration, biology and physical education. Selma University also offers programs in Bible, theology, Christian education and pastoral ministry. Vice President of Fiscal Affairs Robin Thomas said students who do not plan on becoming ministers are often interested in Selma University because of its Christian environment. With ABHE accreditation, these students are more likely to attend the school, she said.

“It gives students another option,” Thomas said. “They’re paid for, and we’re bona fide.”

Selma University was founded 131 years ago. The school was accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools until 1996. After losing that accreditation, the administration decided to seek national accreditation in 2000 in order to attract more students and provide its students with graduate school opportunities. Cleveland said the combination of the school’s lengthy history and the ABHE accreditation gives it distinct advantages over newer bible colleges.

“If we were a newer institution, I think it would be harder to attract students,” he said. “Now, we’ll be able to have students from different places come.”