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Update: FAMU and the SACS probation

Clarification: The University of South Florida St. Petersburg was placed on SACS probation in 2008. We left them out of our original report.

ORIGINAL POST: When it comes to the regional accrediting body for colleges and universities, most of Florida's public universities have steered clear of major issues.

Florida A&M University is the only one of 11 existing state universities to have ever been placed on Southern Association of Colleges and Schools probation, the Board of Governor's told the Herald/Times. And now, FAMU is facing its second probation in five years.

Florida State University did have additional SACS attention in 2006-2007 following a cheating scandal among athletes. The accrediting organization asked FSU to provide additional paperwork to show the problems had been fixed, but there were no sanctions, the Tallahassee Democrat reported.

There is one Florida state college that under sanctions similar to FAMU. Edison State College in Ft. Myers is on probation for one year, stemming from issues raised about the school's academic standards and requirements. 

In addition, private Florida Christian College in Kissimmee is facing revocation of its SACS accreditation, although the school says it will appeal.

Accreditation is important for a university because school that aren't accredited are no longer eligible for federal financial aid. That is especially important for place like FAMU, where the majority of students accept some type of financial aid. 

Probationary status means that SACS has put a school on notice to fix its issues. Affected schools face additional scrutiny and oversight outside the the periodic reviews that are part of remaining in good standing with SACS. FAMU says a special committee will visit its campus this spring, meanwhile the school is also preparing for it's normal five-year SACS review in 2013.

Loss of accreditation is rare.

In 2004, SACS voted to revoke the accreditation for Jacksonville's Edward Waters College after it was discovered the school had plagarized documents crucial to its SACS review. The school later sued SACS, and its accreditation was reinstated as part of a settlement. Edward Waters also received a warning from SACS in 2011, one step lower than probation, because of concerns about faculty and staff.

Click here to read more about FAMU's most recent probation and reaction from students and other FAMU supporters.