MSU officials are mounting an appeal, the Commission is urging students to look at other options.
More than a dozen
community colleges, private institutions, and public universities are gathered
at the Erma Byrd Higher Education Center in Beaver armed with laptops and
counseling, and answering questions about the ability to transfer credits,
enrollment requirements, and financial aid.
The shock of the news
that Mountain State University will lose its accreditation August 27 was clearly visible on the faces of many students
Brooke Belmont of Fayette County is a second year
radiation technology major.
“I was pretty
devastated,” she said. “I really thought we were going to get put on probation
or something, but them pulling accreditation completely was a shock.”
Belmont came to the fair with
her mother, hoping for answers.
know what the administration at MSU went thru to try to make it happen, but I
am very disappointed,” said Ann Belmont.
like they had a year to get things squared away and we were holding a positive
thought that things would be taken care of and they weren’t,” she said.
advising fair was set-up by the state Higher Education Policy Commission.
Chancellor Paul Hill mingled among some very stressed-out students.
“It is emotional when you find that suddenly
students who think they are on this track and something befalls them like this,”
know where to go and they may well end up losing some credits or not being able
to transfer, they may lose that opportunity,” he said.
loss of any student who wants to pursue a career is a loss to the state of West Virginia.
explained that only the Higher Learning Commission had the authority to take
action regarding Mountain State University because it is a private institution;
the West Virginia Higher Education Policy Commission
has oversight of state public institutions.
“Those private institutions have their
own boards that provide that oversight and therefore we have very little
oversight over them.”
Hill says that will
change. Senate Bill 375 was passed last year with the intent of giving the Higher
Education Policy Commission greater oversight of private institutions.
The commission was given
rule-making authority and will present those to the Legislature next month,
according to Hill.
While the Chancellor
acknowledges this won’t help current MSU students, he says while MSU remains an
accredited institution until Aug 27, credits are transferable.
However after Aug. 27,
no accredited institution will accept MSU credits unless the appeal is
successful, which Hill says is highly unlikely.
“If I were
a student I would look at every opportunity right now,” he said.
rulings are very difficult to overturn. We’ve talked to the Higher Learning Commission
in Chicago this week and there are a lot of
critical issues that would be difficult to turn around.”
“So time is
of the essence. And that’s why we at the HEPC chose to respond quickly to get
information out directly to the students so that again they can make their own
The Commission reports
123 students attended Thursday’s fair.
event is scheduled through 9pm Friday.
similar fair is scheduled Monday and Tuesday at the Blueridge Community and Technical College in Martinsburg to
accommodate students of MSU’s Martinsburg campus.