More lawsuits filed against Arkansas Baptist College

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KTHV) - Arkansas Baptist College (ABC) is making headlines again after another lawsuit was filed Thursday. Concerns from students has prompted the Higher Learning Commission to check in on the school's finances and plan a visit to the campus in October. Even with the suits, the school said things are looking up and aren't as bad as they seem.

"I think people think that we are on hard times, and that things are really bad here, and they're really not," said Lacresha Newton, chief of staff at ABC.

"There are a number of different plaintiffs involved in the various cases," confirmed Pulaski County Circuit Clerk Larry Crane. He said there are 18 different legal cases involving Arkansas Baptist College on record. The latest is Southwest Contract, a company that is suing the school for over $150,000 in bounced checks.

Last fall, the US Department of Education placed the school on Heightened Cash Monitoring Status. Chief of Staff LaCresha said it happened after the school prematurely submitted its audit.

"In submitting it, there were some findings. We now realize that we probably should have waited and addressed those findings," she explained.

Now a college that is 95 percent dependent on federal aid is forced to prioritize the payments it has to make. First students, then employees, and then vendors. Newton said she can't fault them for wanting to take legal action to get their money.

In February, the Higher Learning Commission placed the school on notice "due to concerns related to financial resources, human resources and administrative processes."

"They just kind of want to check up on things to make sure that we can function as we are supposed to," Newton continued.

Higher Learning Commission and ABC plans to meet in February of next year to determine whether or not the school is in compliance with its accreditation requirements.



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