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West Virginia Council for Community and Technical College Education: West Virginia Business College Misleading Students in Wheeling

Business school must halt operations by Friday, officials say

Photo by Casey Junkins West Virginia Business College cannot operate after Friday, according to officials with the state Council for Community & Technical College Education.

WHEELING — “Unethical,” “irresponsible” and “harmful” are words state Council for Community and Technical College Education Chancellor Sarah Tucker used to describe actions she said West Virginia Business College is taking to convince students the institution will remain open beyond Friday.

Tucker, whose organization is tasked with overseeing West Virginia’s community and technical colleges, said Wednesday the Wheeling-based institution cannot operate after Friday.

“West Virginia Business College is not authorized to continue offering classes in the state of West Virginia,” Tucker said Wednesday. “Their recent actions not only violate their legal standing, but — most disturbingly — are irresponsible and harmful to students who are trying to move forward with their lives and education.”

A phone call to the college Wednesday went unanswered, and college officials did not respond to emailed requests for comment. Earlier this month, business college General Manager James Weir distributed a news release claiming the college has been sold, although he did not identify a new owner.

The college has operated on Main Street in Wheeling and at Nutter Fort, W.Va., just south of Clarksburg. After allowing the college to appeal an April 10 ruling, the council withdrew the college’s operating permit on June 8, while ordering its officials to “halt any and all operations by June 30.”

According to Tucker, college officials sent memoranda to students that implied operations will continue. Tucker said the college notified students that they must attend an “orientation session” before college employees would release the students’ transcripts.

Any student hoping to transfer his or her credits to another institution of higher learning must have an official transcript, Tucker said.

“It is unethical for them to withhold those transcripts or require students to attend any such orientation to receive them,” Tucker said. “It is our hope that WVBC will do the right thing and provide students with their transcripts. Students should still request them from the college, but if they are unable to attain their records, they should contact our office so we may advise them of next steps.”

Tucker said it is “very likely” the 2018-19 school year will be the earliest the college can reopen because of the lengthy accreditation procedure.

“The accreditation process involves many steps. Each accreditor has a different process with a different timeline, but typically, accreditation takes many months to complete,” she said.

The school’s problems surfaced late last year when the Washington, D.C.-based Accrediting Council on Independent Colleges and Schools issued a report about alleged problems at the business college, including professors and administrators unqualified to teach in their programs.

In February, the West Virginia Higher Education Policy Commission ruled West Virginia Business College misappropriated $68,400 worth of financial aid during the course of several years. This led the commission to decide the school would no longer be allowed to offer certain forms of financial aid, but college leaders maintained this would impact a relatively small number of students.

Tucker said any WVBC students who need assistance should contact her office at 866-896-9327, or by emailing Grants Administrator Renee Harvey at harvey@wvctcs.org.

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