A university based in West Virginia with branches in Hickory and Mooresville is closing. Mountain State University will have its final graduation ceremony of its almost-80-year history on Wednesday evening at the school's main campus in Beckley, West Virginia. The school has been fighting to keep its accreditation since June. That’s when the Higher Learning Commission found the school was focused on increasing enrollment rather than providing students with academic support. Andrew Wessels is the public relations manager for the school.
"Unfortunately, we were not given enough time to see it all through," Wessels says. "It's very difficult to change an organization in less than a year's time. We felt like we were making great progress, but obviously the Higher Learning Commission disagreed."
The University appealed the decision in August, but most students and staff have already left or are in the process of leaving. The Hickory and Mooresville campuses are down to 43 students combined this fall. The Hickory campus opened in 2007 and Mooresville campus opened in 2009. Those branches and two others in Florida and Pennsylvania will close by the end of the year. Students have the option of transferring to West Virginia Tech and the University of Charleston to complete their degrees.
Timeline of Events:
- June 23, 2011 — Higher Learning Commission (HLC) Board of Trustees votes to issue a Show Cause Order to Mountain State University (MSU)
- February 13-15, 2012 — Show Cause Visit to MSU
- May 7, 2012 — Show Cause hearing with HLC Board Committee
- May 15, 2012 — Transcript of the Show Cause hearing sent to HLC Board and MSU
- May 27, 2012 — MSU's response to Show Cause Report due to HLC
- June 29, 2012 — HLC Board of Trustees rule to withdraw MSU accreditation status
- August 6, 2012 -- MSU filed its appeal with the HLC
- December 18, 2012 -- Final graduation ceremony
- December 31, 2012 -- MSU will close all four satellite campuses in NC, PA and FL
- January 1, 2013 -- University of Charleston will establish a four-year private college center at the school's West Virginia Beckley and Martinsburg campuses