Cheyney University announces partnership to revitalize cash-strapped school

Officials at Cheyney University in Delaware County are promising to revitalize their long-troubled campus. They plan to do that with a business partnership, which is designed to bring added revenue to the cash-strapped school.

Cheyney University campus of just over 400 students--barely a third of what enrollment once was.

Cheyney has for several years been battling financial woes so severe it's at risk to lose its accreditation, which would be a virtual death knell for the nation's oldest historically black college or university.

Now, comes hope in the form of a new plan to partner Cheyney with commercial entities such as Epcot Crenshaw, an environmental tech company, and Thomas Jefferson University.

Cheyney president and corporate turnaround specialist Aaron Walton says the school plans to lure a hotel and conference center to lease space on campus.

"All of the revenue generating activities will be maximized. So we are not going to do anything that does not result in a monetary benefit to Cheney either currently or in the future," Cheyney University President Aaron Walton said.

Eliminating Cheyney's football program was the start of a budget-slashing campaign. And the school has tightened its academic requirements.

Walton says with help from a fundraising drive, the budget will be balanced this year and that enrollment will rise dramatically come the fall.

As for the threat of losing its accreditation if the ship isn't righted?

"Well, I look at threats as opportunities," President Walton said.

Students who've tied their future to this fragile university can only hope this turnaround plan--unlike others before it--works.