Update on SACSCOC Decision
It is with disappointment that I report that the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC) has decided to put Loyola on temporary probation for one year to conduct ongoing financial monitoring. While I had hoped that the progress made to balance the budget this fiscal year would be enough to persuade them of our current financial strength, they want to be sure we live within the balanced budget for the rest of the fiscal year. We know that we will – we are almost halfway there already.
We need to take a moment to process the news. But then we have to remember that this place is too special to lose faith. None of this is any commentary on our academic performance, which was approved by SACSCOC on 96 different measures. We know the extraordinary quality of our teaching and student support and the ways that we change lives.
This is specifically about ensuring we fulfill our current financial plan. We’ve already done the hard work to turn the budget around. Together, we’ll continue to keep our belts pulled in and be extremely careful to live within that balanced budget this year. We’ll work together, as we always have, to rise to the challenge.
What became clear from the SACSCOC review is that the only thing that would have prevented probation would have been achieving a balanced budget in FY 18. As a community, doing this before we were able to increase revenue would have required immediate deep cuts that would have risked our core mission – cuts that were untenable. The fact that we’ve balanced FY 19 means that we will be able to get off probation quickly.
Probation is a hurdle faced by many other institutions, for a variety of reasons, who then quickly overcame it, including the University of North Carolina, Texas Tech and University of Louisville. We will too.
We have been working hard in advance to protect our reputation, especially with high school guidance counselors, to explain context to the local media, and to spread the good news about Loyola this fall – from the budget progress to the inauguration.
I am happy to tell you that later this week I will announce our new Senior Vice President for Enrollment, Communications and Student Affairs, who will be able to start in February and help continue our admissions progress. All of our excellent finalists in that search – who knew exactly where we were with regards to SACSCOC – were excited about the opportunities to tell our story and bring in a strong class.
Our remaining hurdle is one of communications more than finances. As an institution, we’re going to be spreading the truth about our progress, but no voice in this community is more credible and meaningful than yours. We need your help one more time to share the fact that we are now on sound financial footing, with a balanced budget, a $228 million endowment and strong retention numbers that continue to increase.
I want to answer every question you have. Let’s gather tomorrow, Wednesday December 12th, at 3 p.m. in the Audubon Room in the Danna Center. We’ll also host a webinar at 6 p.m. CST on Thursday, December 13th, if you’re unable to join us in person. Tune in here. We also have information ready to help you field questions from students and others in our fact sheet and FAQs. And we have set up email@example.com to address any questions you might have.
You have worked, struggled and hung in there through so much to get us to a balanced budget and a path forward. We are almost there.
Loyola – we got this.