Penn State is moving to preserve its accreditation in the aftermath of the Jerry Sandusky child molestation scandal and subsequent NCAA sanctions, following a warning that its financial aid and other programs could be in jeopardy.
According to the Philadelphia Inquirer
, School officials plan to address as quickly as possible all concerns raised last week by the Middle States Committee on Higher Education, the body responsible for determining whether the school can continue receiving state and federal aid.
"This action has nothing to do with the quality of education our students receive. Middle States is focusing on governance, integrity, and financial issues related to information in the [Louis] Freeh report and other items related to our current situation," said Blannie Bowen, vice provost for academic affairs.
The commission said the warning was based on the Sandusky scandal and aftermath, and insufficient evidence indicating the university actually complies with other Middle States rules, the Inquirer reported.
University President Rodney Erickson said he’s sure the school will meet the Sept. 30 deadline for providing the evidence. Accreditation status is a major factor, the Inquirer noted, in determining federal and state financial aid, student acceptance and graduate admissions programs, as well as course credit transfers between schools.
The Freeh report accused top officials at Penn State, including the late football coach Joe Paterno, of conspiring to conceal child sex abuse allegations against Sandusky, a defense coach who had worked under Paterno.
As a result, the NCAA fined Penn State $60 million, banned post-season bowl play for four years, cut football scholarships, and essentially erased all the school's football wins from 1998 through 2011.
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