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Pine Manor College placed on probation by accrediting agency

By Laura Krantz Globe Staff 

Faced with struggling finances and a small enrollment, Pine Manor College was placed on academic probation Wednesday by the regional college accrediting agency.

The New England Association of Schools and Colleges also expressed concerns about governance at the small liberal arts college in Brookline, which has 448 students and is known for educating minorities and low-income students, according to its website.

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This is the second time Pine Manor has been placed on probation by accreditors. In 2011 it failed to meet NEASC’s financial resource benchmark but rectified its problems and came off probation two years later, according to Barbara Brittingham, president of the Commission on Institutions of Higher Education at NEASC.

This time, the college failed to meet five benchmarks: mission and purposes, planning and evaluation, organization and governance, students, and financial resources, according to NEASC.

The probation decision came after an evaluation in November 2015, when accreditors asked the school to show proof why it should not have its accreditation withdrawn.

Accreditation is important because without it a college becomes ineligible to receive federal financial aid, which means students who attend cannot access student loans or grants.

A college can be placed on probation for failing to meet any one of the accrediting agency’s 11 standards.

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While the college is on probation it will face extra scrutiny from accreditors and will have to submit special reports addressing the concerns. It will also undergo an evaluation in the fall of 2017. The college can also appeal the probation but has chosen not to.

The college did not respond to requests Wednesday for comment. According to its website, the school appointed a new president this week.

Trustees selected Thomas M. O’Reilly, who served as president of the Boston School Committee in 1989, to replace interim president Rosemary Ashby. O’Reilly was chosen for his track record in leading organizations through significant transformation, according to the school’s website.


Laura Krantz can be reached at laura.krantz@globe.com
Follow her on Twitter @laurakrantz.