Message From The President
Atlantic Union College – a faith based institution of higher education in the Seventh-day Adventist Atlantic Union Conference
State of Affairs at AUC
January 26, 2018
Foundation for Restarting Atlantic Union College
- The Atlantic Union Conference Constituency voted on June 13, 2011 to restart the academic programs. The Constituency vote represented a membership greater than 110,000.
- The AUC Board of Trustees gained conditional five year approval on June 19, 2013 from the Massachusetts Department of Higher Education for only/initially two degree programs B.A. in Theology/Religion and B.S. in Health Science/ Biology.
- Financial sustainability in the form of subsidies from the six conference in the Atlantic Union is continuous.
- The leaders of the Conferences and Union support the college’s growth.
Atlantic Union College is approved to operate in Massachusetts by the Massachusetts Department of Higher Education (MDHE). After more than a century of service as an educational institution in Massachusetts, in 2011 the College’s academic programs were suspended because the regional accrediting organization, NEASC (New England Association of Schools and Colleges) withdrew its accreditation due to financial sustainability concerns. In 2011, the AUC Board of Trustees petitioned the MDHE and in 2013 and received approval to restart the College’s academic programs. AUC was awarded a five year conditional approval- with criteria to be met. Atlantic Union College restarted the academic programs in 2015.
With a restart date of fall 2015, the College has yet to actualize the intended five years of conditional approval to meet the criteria established by the Massachusetts Department of Higher Education. Any evaluation/assessment at this point (June 2018) would be based on close to three years of operation, rather than the intended five years. Our request is to be given a full five years of operation before the assessment is conducted.
Our request is for a two-year extension of the conditional approval issued by the Massachusetts Department of Higher Education, thereby granting the college the fully intended and approved five years of operation. At that point we anticipate having accomplished all the requirements for continued approval to operate as an institution of higher education.
Financial Mitigating Factors:
- Decrease in amount of Atlantic Union Conference financial subsidy remittance.
- External scan of federal and state student financial aid subsidies: states in the Atlantic Union Conference territory that offer "free tuition” base the free tuition on a combination of financial resource from student eligible federal financial aid and state grants. Upon receipt of accreditation students attending AUC will be eligible for federal grants and will use that money toward tuition costs.
- Expanding academic programs through Andrews University. The lower tuition here attracts students to start at AUC and continue at Andrews towards an academic degree not currently offered through AUC.
The changing financial commitment regarding subsidies, at this point, imperils the financial stability of the college. Plans to position the college for growth- through branch campus proposal, accreditation, approval to operate an institution of higher education in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts are dependent on a requirement set on financial stability. Financial commitments through 2020 will allow for the process to continue in good faith to regain authorization to operate in Massachusetts, and make the viability of a proposal for a branch campus attractive, which in essence becomes a financial resource.
The continuation of the financial subsidy will bring to fruition a return on the over-the-years investment of paying-down-the-debt, in order to restart the academic programs at Atlantic Union College. An additional two years will capstone the plan for restarting the academic programs at AUC.
Thank you. Be well.
In Christian Service,
Dr. Avis Hendrickson