CHARLESTON, W.Va. - The University of Charleston will offer scholarships to any current students at Mountain State University, which recently lost its accreditation.
"If you've been enrolled at Mountain State, we're going to give you a scholarship to UC," President Ed Welch said Wednesday in a phone interview.
The Higher Learning Commission, a member of one of the six national accrediting bodies for higher education institutions in the country, announced Tuesday it would revoke the university's accreditation.
The commission had put the Beckley-based university on "show cause" status a year ago, giving the university time to address concerns raised in the commission's initial report.
At a recent board meeting, the commission decided the university had not done enough to merit keeping its accreditation.
Following the commission's announcement, Welch said UC wanted to offer the students an option.
"We're sympathetic to the situation they find themselves in," Welch said.
Welch said a certain amount of financial aid has been set aside for the Mountain State University students. He declined to say how much but said UC would assist every student who wanted to attend the Charleston-based private school.
"We want to be as fair as we can to those students caught in a difficult situation while respecting the financial aid (given to current UC students)," Welch said.
Although Mountain State University does not report its enrollment, the U.S. Department of Education website states that fall 2011 undergraduate enrollment was close to 5,000. Other media outlets have reported current total enrollment closer to 3,000.
The students will be considered transfer, not first-time students, for UC admissions purposes. Welch said this means the students can stand on their collegiate academic accomplishments alone. Good grades are key, Welch said, but the quality of the courses taken at Mountain State University will not necessarily play a role, he said.
Although academic rigor at Mountain State University was a serious problem cited in the Higher Learning Commission's report, Welch said the credits earned by students when the school was accredited are viable.
"It says we respect the work that they have done," Welch said. "We respect that Mountain State was accredited when they took the courses."