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UPDATE: UC Gets Final Approval for Beckley and Martinsburg Campuses

By: WSAZ News Staff Email
By: WSAZ News Staff Email

UPDATE 12/11/12 @ 11:15 a.m.
CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- The University of Charleston is going through a major expansion and will now have campuses across the state of West Virginia.

The Higher Education Learning Commission has given UC final approval to open new locations in Beckley and Martinsburg starting on January 1.

UC is already operating a "teach out" program at those locations for Mountain State University students.

MSU will lose their accreditation at the end of this year.

UC will begin the spring semester at all of its campuses on January 14.



UPDATE 8/1/12 @ 4 p.m.
BECKLEY, W.Va. (WSAZ) – A struggling university and its students are getting some major help.

On Wednesday, the University of Charleston announced they’re taking over Mountain State University’s campuses in Beckley and Martinsburg.

This comes after state officials say they’re revoking MSU’s accreditation.

Not only will this move keep the economy running in Beckley, but it’ll also provide an option for current MSU students to stay on campus and finish their degrees through the University of Charleston.

"We're very glad and happy to be able to provide a solution and help some students who find themselves in a very unfortunate circumstance," said Ben Beakes, vice president for development with the University of Charleston.

In June, MSU students were told their school would lose its accreditation -- sending them scrambling to find another option.

"I just feel like the rug got pulled out from under my future," MSU student Michael McClaugherty said.

But now there's a brighter future for the students after UC announced it’s taking over MSU’s campus and will admit all interested Mountain State students in good standing so they can finish their degree work.

"We have a great track record of outcomes-based education,” Beakes said. “We have a national and international reputation in our unique curriculum design. So, we're just very happy to be able to offer that to a different community in Beckley."

UC will start offering classes on campus this fall. Much of the fine details are still being sorted out, including what Mountain State programs UC will take on.

"The bottom line is can we serve students well, and we want to make sure that we're offering programs that fit our mission and that we can serve those students well," Beakes said.

UC leaders will not only evaluate MSU’s programs but its personnel, as well. They said they expect to hire new staff but will consider Mountain State faculty and staff members first.

UC will officially take over the campus on Jan. 1, 2013 after MSU’s accreditation expires.

The Higher Learning Commission withdrew MSU’s accreditation because state officials said the school has major leadership, academic and financial problems.



UPDATE 8/1/12 @ 11:20 a.m.
BECKLEY, W.Va. (WSAZ & AP) -- Mountain State University's campuses in Beckley and Martinsburg are being taken over by the University of Charleston.

UC officials announced a memorandum of understanding between the schools Wednesday at a news conference in Beckley.

"The closing of Mountain State University is sad and tragic," UC President Edwin Welch said, "for students, for faculty and staff, and for the Beckley and Martinsburg communities. UC is committed to filling the void that will be left and to maintaining a private higher education presence in southern West Virginia and in the eastern panhandle."

The University of Charleston will be Mountain State's primary partner in a teach-out plan for students who are eligible to graduate by the end of the year.

These students will be taught by University of Charleston faculty during the fall semester in Beckley and Martinsburg.

The private Charleston school also plans to establish a four-year private-college center in Beckley.

"This keeps a significant economic engine in Beckley," said MSU Interim President Richard E. Sours, Ph.D. "We are thrilled at this opportunity. This assures that a four-year college presence will continue in Beckley under the UC banner."

The Higher Learning Commission revoked Mountain State's accreditation in June but has extended it until Dec. 31. Mountain State plans to appeal.



UPDATE: 8/1/2012 10:30 a.m.
BECKLEY, W.Va. (AP) - Mountain State University's campuses in Beckley and Martinsburg are being taken over by the University of Charleston.

UC officials announced a memorandum of understanding between the schools Wednesday at a news conference in Beckley.

The University of Charleston will be Mountain State's primary partner in a teach-out plan for students who are eligible to graduate by the end of the year.

These students will be taught by University of Charleston faculty during the fall semester in Beckley and Martinsburg.

The private Charleston school also plans to establish a four-year private-college center in Beckley.

The Higher Learning Commission revoked Mountain State's accreditation in June but has extended it until Dec. 31.

Mountain State plans to appeal.



ORIGINAL STORY
CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- Thousands of students from Mountain State University who are trying to find a new place to go to school are getting a little help.

On Friday, the University of Charleston let MSU students tour the campus, learn about scholarship opportunities and find out about transferring credits.

This all comes after Mountain State University was informed its accreditation was being revoked, sending students in a frenzy to find a new school. But now they’re breathing a sigh of relief after UC and several other schools stepped up to help these students find a way to finish their degrees.

News that Mountain State University was losing its accreditation came as a shock to Marla Lewis.

"I wish I would have never put a dime in there," Lewis said.

Lewis has been a student at MSU since 2007, trying to earn her degree in physicians assisting. But, five years later and no degree just adds to her frustration about now having to find a new school.

"The possibility of losing all of our financial aid that we've sunk in to one school and going there for five years and not having a bachelor's degree,” Lewis said. “And then finding out that you need a bachelor's degree in order to get in the PA program, so you're having to take a step back."

It’s the same frustration for Michael McClaugherty who also was a student at MSU since 2008.

"I just feel like the rug got pulled out from under my future,” McClaugherty said. “We have a lot of things left unresolved for MSU to see what's going to happen. I just kind of feel like I got took for a ride."

But now these students are getting some help from the University of Charleston. Both said most of their credits from MSU will transfer to UC and they’ll be able to get some help financially.

"I feel like the University of Charleston's actually having to step up and pick up the slack where MSU dumped us out on the ground," Lewis said.

Mountain State will lose accreditation on Dec. 31. It was revoked because state officials say the school has major leadership, academic and financial problems.

The University of Charleston will hold a transfer fair again from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday, July 30, at Mountain State University’s Beckley campus.


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