Thursday, December 18, 2014
The nation's oldest black college, Cheyney University, one of Pennsylvania's 14 state-run universities, is on the verge of a financial meltdown that threatens its ability to continue operating
Cheyney's student body has shrunk by two-thirds, to about 1,000, since its 1983 peak, and its four-year graduation rate is just 9%. A quarter of its students never receive a degree, and student loan defaults are high. "Cheyney is in dire, dire, dire straits," the state's auditor general, Eugene DePasquale, said. The university has had a deficit for four of the last five years, growing to a cumulative $12.3 million shortfall as of June 30, 2013. Cheyney, located in the Philadelphia suburb of the same name, was founded in 1837 after Quaker philanthropist Richard Humphreys bequeathed part of his estate to build a school to educate descendants of the African race, according to the university's website.