Accrediting agency keeps Martin University on probation

An accrediting agency is keeping Indiana's only predominantly black institution of higher learning on probation amid continuing concerns about unstable finances.

The Higher Learning Commission said in a decision released this week that Martin University in Indianapolis "remains in a financially precarious position." The university was put on probation in February 2014, The Indianapolis Star reported.

The accrediting agency said the Indianapolis school must show improvements in finances by August 2016, prior to a decision on probation status scheduled for February 2017. The school says its funding comes mostly through enrollment, which has been in decline.

Last year, the commission cited concerns over Martin's finances, particularly after its 203 fall enrollment of 522 students came in more than 25 percent below projections, leading to a $600,000 shortfall and layoffs.

The agency said in its decision that Martin University has made improvements in academics, including raising low student-retention rates.

Accreditation helps students transfer credits between institutions and allows schools to qualify for federal financial aid.

Martin was founded in 1977 at 35th and College University and moved to its current campus in the Martindale-Brightwood area in 1987.

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