Penn State could lose accreditation

Aug. 14, 2012 at 11:02 AM

STATE COLLEGE, Pa., Aug. 14 (UPI) -- Penn State has been warned it could lose its academic accreditation in the wake of the Jerry Sandusky scandal, university officials said.

If the Middle States Commission on Higher Education suspends Penn State's accreditation, the school, the most prominent public college or university in Pennsylvania, would no longer be eligible for federal grants and its students could not receive federally backed student loans.

Sandusky, a longtime assistant football coach, was convicted of molesting boys he met through Second Mile, a charity he established for at-risk children. A report by former FBI Director Louis Freeh commissioned by the university found that officials there, including the late Joe Paterno, the revered football coach, enabled Sandusky's actions.

The NCAA has imposed drastic sanctions on the football program, including a $60 million fine and four-year ban from bowl games. The Middle States Commission has told the school to report in September on the actions it is taking to ensure Penn State officials behave more responsibly in the future.

"This action has nothing to do with the quality of education our students receive," Blannie Bowen, the vice provost for academic affairs, said Monday in a statement on the Penn State Web site. "Middle States is focusing on governance, integrity and financial issues related to information in the Freeh report and other items related to our current situation."

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