UNITED STATES NEWS

Students’ lives thrown into disarray after West Virginia college announces plans to close

Aug 1, 2023, 12:31 PM | Updated: Aug 2, 2023, 10:48 am

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) — The lives of hundreds of students like Ashton Miller were thrown into disarray after a debt-ridden university in West Virginia announced just before the start of fall classes that it plans to cease operations.

Alderson Broaddus University’s Board of Trustees voted Monday night to develop a plan to disband after another board overseeing the state’s four-year colleges and universities revoked the small private school’s ability to award degrees effective Dec. 31.

Now, the 625 students on the Baptist university’s Philippi campus are looking elsewhere — and fast. College campuses everywhere soon will be bustling with activity.

The decision left students feeling a wide range of emotions, including sadness, frustration, anger and bewilderment.

“I’ve got pretty much two weeks to find a new school and get everything set up to go there, just reset the whole process,” said Miller, a sophomore.

Miller was a member of the Battlers wrestling team. He said he has only heard second-hand information about the closing.

“I’ve not been contacted by the school. I’ve not been contacted by my coach,” he said. “I haven’t heard anything from anyone. The school is not giving us any information, which is frustrating everybody.”

Alderson Broaddus was supposed to play its football opener in Philippi, West Virginia, on Aug. 31. Now the entire season is gone, along with those of other athletic teams as well as school extracurricular activities.

“With all the hard work we’ve put in here to get this program turned around, we knew this was the year we were going to start to see the fruits of our labor,” third-year football coach Travis Everhart said. “We were very, very pleased with the progress we were making and really excited about what was to happen.

“Now, we’ll never know.”

Suddenly, social media has become a transfer portal of sorts for Alderson Broaddus athletes who are listing their achievements and posting that they are available for recruitment.

Most athletes that Miller knows at Alderson Broaddus, especially on the wrestling team, were from out of state. Miller, who lives in Prince George, Virginia, said he can’t attend a Virginia college because deadlines for transferring have already closed. His options include some West Virginia schools that could fast-track his application.

Other state universities, including West Virginia Wesleyan in nearby Buckhannon and Fairmont State University in Fairmont, have offered application and transcript evaluation assistance to Alderson Broaddus students.

“As a neighboring university, Alderson Broaddus has always been a good and respected friend of Fairmont State, and our thoughts are with the students and staff, as well as with the community of Philippi as they begin to navigate the effects of this impactful decision,” Fairmont State said in a statement Tuesday.

Fairmont State said it has established a scholarship fund specifically for transferring Alderson Broaddus students.

Still to be announced is exactly when Alderson Broaddus will dissolve. The school’s statement on Monday night wasn’t clear. Alderson Broaddus said it planned to have more information about helping students, faculty and staff, board chairman James Garvin said in a statement.

Earlier Monday, the Higher Education Policy Commission voted to prohibit Alderson Broaddus from awarding degrees starting Dec. 31. The commission also authorized its chancellor to enter an order directing the school’s next steps, which include not accepting new students or allowing returning students to come back, except for seniors scheduled to graduate at the end of the fall semester.

Alderson Broaddus, which was founded in 1932, has been struggling financially for several years. A bank official said in 2015 that the university had defaulted on repayment of bonds totaling more than $36 million. An accreditor, the Higher Learning Commission, placed the school on probation in 2017, then lifted it in 2019.

The financial struggles included $775,000 in utility debts. Monday was the deadline for the university’s utilities to be shut off if a payment had not been made to the city of Philippi. During Monday’s commission meeting, Garvin confirmed that a $67,000 payment had been made.

The commission also was told last month that the U.S. Department of Agriculture had previously agreed to restructure a $27 million loan to the university to allow for a more flexible cash flow. The school was offered assistance through a USDA program providing loans and grants to help expand economic opportunities and create jobs in rural areas.

The university also sought alumni contributions this year to help meet payroll.

Student Avery James said the stress of the university’s closure is about more than just finding a new school.

“That’s only part of it, but that was our home,” James said on Facebook. “We didn’t know when we left for the summer that it would be our last time there. For some of us, it was our last goodbye to our friends who became family, our professors and administrators who got us through the bad days, the cleaners who always made us smile in the morning on the way to class. Rebuilding those connections doesn’t just happen overnight.”

United States News

Associated Press

Kamala Harris is preparing to lead Democrats in 2024. There are lessons from her 2020 bid

ATLANTA (AP) — Kamala Harris was greeted by a massive, cheering crowd during the first rally of her newly announced presidential campaign in 2019. Speaking on a late January day outside city hall in her hometown of Oakland, California, she framed her bid as part of something bigger than simply winning an election. “We are […]

26 minutes ago

FILE - Unsold 2024 Escalade utility vehicles sit in a row outside a Cadillac dealership on June 2, ...

Associated Press

With US vehicle prices averaging near $50K, General Motors sees 2nd-quarter profits rise 15%

DETROIT (AP) — U.S. customers who bought a new General Motors vehicle last quarter paid an average of just under $49,900, a price that helped push the company’s net income 15% above a year ago. And GM Chief Financial Officer Paul Jacobson said he doesn’t see his company cutting prices very much, despite industry analysts’ […]

56 minutes ago

FILE - In this July 27, 2021 file photo, Simone Biles, of the United States, watches gymnasts perfo...

Associated Press

Biles, Osaka and Phelps spoke up about mental health. Has anything changed for the Paris Olympics?

Lydia Jacoby was a breakout star in the pool for the United States at the last Summer Games, earning a gold medal in the 100-meter breaststroke and a relay silver. Part of what comes to mind from those heady days in Tokyo? “People talking about post-Olympic depression,” she said. She was 17 at the time, […]

2 hours ago

Associated Press

Harris to visit battleground Wisconsin in first rally as Democrats coalesce around her for president

WASHINGTON (AP) — Vice President Kamala Harris is making her first visit to a battleground state Tuesday after locking up enough support from Democratic delegates to win her party’s nomination to challenge former President Donald Trump, two days after President Joe Biden dropped his reelection bid. As the Democratic Party continues to coalesce around her, […]

2 hours ago

China's Foreign Minister Wang Yi, center, hosts an event for Mahmoud al-Aloul, left, vice chairman ...

Associated Press

Hamas and Fatah sign declaration in Beijing on ending yearslong rift as war rages in Gaza

RAMALLAH, West Bank (AP) — Palestinian factions Hamas and Fatah signed a declaration in Beijing on ending a yearslong rift, Chinese state media said Tuesday, taking a step toward potentially resolving the deep divide between the sides as the war in Gaza rages on. The declaration by the two heavyweights of Palestinian politics — and […]

5 hours ago

FILE - Buildings and homes are flooded in the aftermath of Hurricane Laura near Lake Charles, La., ...

Associated Press

Data shows hurricanes and earthquakes grab headlines but inland counties top disaster list

Floyd County keeps flooding and the federal government keeps coming to the rescue. In July 2022, at least 40 people died and 300 homes were damaged when the eastern Kentucky county flooded. It was the 13th time in 12 years that the rural county was declared a federal disaster. These are disasters so costly that […]

5 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

...

Sanderson Ford

3 new rides for 3 new road trips in Arizona

It's time for the Sanderson Ford Memorial Day sale with the Mighty Fine 69 Anniversary, as Sanderson Ford turned 69 years old in May.

...

COLLINS COMFORT MASTERS

Here are 5 things Arizona residents need to know about their HVAC system

It's warming back up in the Valley, which means it's time to think about your air conditioning system's preparedness for summer.

...

Midwestern University

Midwestern University Clinics: transforming health care in the valley

Midwestern University, long a fixture of comprehensive health care education in the West Valley, is also a recognized leader in community health care.

Students’ lives thrown into disarray after West Virginia college announces plans to close