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Md. reaches $400K settlement in grant-funding case with Sojourner-Douglass

Sojourner-Douglass College's building in East Baltimore. (File photo)

Sojourner-Douglass College’s building in East Baltimore. (File photo)

Now-defunct Sojourner-Douglass College has agreed to pay approximately $400,000 in unused grant funds back to the state as a part of a settlement agreement announced Wednesday.

The settlement resolves claims brought in November that the college, which lost its accreditation 2015, accepted funds from a grant program for nursing and failed to properly use or account for them, according to a news release from the Maryland Office of the Attorney General.

“Sojourner-Douglass did not spend its grant money on activities that were authorized, nor did they even document what they had spent the money on,” said Attorney General Brian E. Frosh in a prepared statement. “State grant funds not used for the intended purpose must be returned.”

The college’s accreditation was withdrawn on June 30, 2015, after a nearly four-year process with the Middle States Commission on Higher Education. Without accreditation, the east Baltimore college cannot receive federal funds; at least 80 percent of the college’s tuition revenue comes from federal grants and loans.

The commission found the school lacked institutional financial viability. Sojourner-Douglass sought a temporary restraining order then an injunction, which were denied, and ultimately lost its bid in U.S. District Court.

The 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed the dismissal and Sojourner-Douglass is currently mulling a petition to the U.S. Supreme Court, which must be filed by Oct. 1.

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