Church board forgives $4 million Morris Brown College debt

The Executive Committee of the General Board of the African Methodist Episcopal Church has voted to forgive over $4 million in debt owed to it by Morris Brown College, school officials announced Tuesday.

The college, located near Mercedes-Benz Stadium, has agreed to create a $1.5 million scholarship for AME members worldwide.

College officials said the decision is an important step in its effort to regain its accreditation, which was revoked in 2002. Because Morris Brown is not accredited, students are not able to receive federal loans which are critical to paying tuition at most colleges.

“The removal of the long-term debt improves our position ... which is a critical part of the accreditation process. We are thankful to the AME Church,” said Shermanetta Carter, the college’s chief financial officer.

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The college has continued to operate, albeit with far fewer students than its peak of 2,700 before losing accreditation. Its enrollment was about 40 students earlier this year, officials said.

Morris Brown College last year became a correspondence school with the Transnational Association of Christian Colleges and Schools (TRACS), which means the college has been officially approved to start the process to become accredited. The college hopes this year to be a candidate for accreditation with TRACS.

Once a candidate, Morris Brown said it will be eligible for federal Title IV funding, which includes Pell grants and Perkins loans.

Morris Brown was founded by the Georgia Conference of the African Methodist Episcopal Church in 1881. It was the first historically black college and university in Georgia founded by African-Americans.