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Students and staff rally to save Berean

July 17, 2008 3:42:29 PM PDT
Students, staff and supporters rallied outside Berean Institute, pleading for help to keep the 109 year old school at 19th & Girard open. Students, staff and supporters rallied outside Berean Institute, pleading for help to keep the 109 year old school at 19th & Girard open. The trade school, known primarily for training aspiring barbers and cosmetologists, faces the threat of closure.

Berean lost its accreditation last fall. The interim president says it was based on 4 factors, recruitment, retention, graduation and placement. The interim president said they were lacking in some of those areas, plus there were also financial issues.

Losing accreditation, made students at Berean ineligible for financial aid, and led to the loss of $1million dollars in state funding.

Current and former Berean students contend Philadelphia can't afford to let the school close because it helps hundreds of people who are academically and financially challenged, create bridges to productive futures.

Barber shop and salon owners across the city who got their start at Berean are upset about what's happening.

To complicate matters even further, Berean has received an eviction notice effective next month. It says the school owes $400 thousand for rent dating back to 2005. But, Berean officials dispute, and are challenging that, saying it should have been paid out of funding from the state.

Berean supporters are collecting signatures, seeking help from city and state officials. School administrators say they're talking with state elected officials about ways to keep Berean Institute solvent, and open.


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