Bacone College has hit a lot of bumps in the road in the past couple of years, but it looks like things have improved by leaps and bounds. This is quite a feat if you consider where the college was just two short years ago.
School officials projected nearly 15% of students likely would sit out this school year. The school, with a 61% native student body, saw its 2020 fall enrollment jump by nearly 20.7% compared with last year.
Bacone laid off most of its staff in May 2018 as officials sought to shore up budget shortfalls and keep the college open.
The college then sold three college properties to help resolve the issues. More recently, Muskogee Public Schools purchased some of Bacone's property for $3 million to build a sports complex.
In 2019, Bacone restructured as a smaller institution under the new leadership of Dr. Ferlin Clark. The college cut many sports programs, including football and wrestling.
The ultimate goal was to become a tribal college recognized under the American Indian Higher Education Consortium, which would provide federal funding to the school for its primarily Native American student population.
Bacone also applied to become a tribal college with the Bureau of Education and are in that process, which would provide funding.
We are glad to see Bacone in such a positive light. Congrats to Clark and the rest of the staff at Bacone for turning things around and keeping the doors open to such a historic institution.