Latest News, WV Press Videos

Pending appeal, West Virginia Business College can remain open


The Intelligencer and Wheeling News-Register

WHEELING, W.Va.  — A last-minute reprieve from Ohio County Circuit David Sims will allow West Virginia Business College to remain open during its appeal of state officials’ order to close the school.

West Virginia Business College can remain open pending appeal.
(Photo by Scott McCloskey)

Meanwhile, at least three former students are now suing the school, claiming the degrees the college awarded last month are basically worthless because the school lacks accreditation.

Last month, officials with the West Virginia Council for Community and Technical College Education declared the college would have to close by June 30, citing the school’s lack of accreditation. However, the college filed an appeal of this ruling in Ohio County Circuit Court last week, asking Sims to overturn the council’s decision.

The school also asked for an immediate stay of the council’s order, which Sims granted.

“The stay was granted. That keeps the status quo, pending the outcome of the appeal,”council attorney Candace Kraus said. “We have 30 days to file a response.”

The college now continues on Main Street in Wheeling and at Nutter Fort, W.Va., just south of Clarksburg. The council withdrew the college’s operating permit on June 8, while ordering its officials to “halt any and all operations by June 30.”

Last week, council Chancellor Sarah Tucker referred to efforts college officials made to convince students it would remain open as “unethical.”

Kraus said even if the council ultimately prevails in court, the process could go “into the fall.”

“Until this is resolved, they will be able to continue taking students. It will be business as usual for them,” she said.

Kraus said the state’s position is that a college should not operate if it has no accreditation.

“They are not accredited. That accreditation is something students need in order to transfer credits,” she said. “The accreditation is a stamp of approval.”

However, documents Wheeling attorney Ron Kasserman filed on behalf of the college argue that the U.S. Department of Education no longer recognizes the Accrediting Council on Independent Colleges and Schools, which had been the accrediting agency for West Virginia Business College.

“By statute, as a result of ACICS’s loss of recognition, all affected institutions will be placed on provisional certification until such time as they gain accreditation by another federally recognized accreditor, or the expiration of the 18-month period,” information provided by department spokesman Alberto “Al” Betancourt states.

According to the court documents, this 18-month period began in December.

Betancourt also states the college can continue participating in federal financial aid programs such as Pell Grants and several loan programs.

Kasserman declined to comment further on the matter.

“Right now, they are authorized to use federal financial aid. They lost their ability to use state financial aid,” Kraus said.

In February, the state Higher Education Policy Commission ruled the college misappropriated $68,400 worth of financial aid during the course of several years. The commission decided 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.

However, the battle to remain open is only one of the college’s legal fronts. Former students Katlynn Flemings, Rebecca Wolfe and Terri McGinnis are suing the school, alleging that business college officials “realized a financial benefit by preventing current and enrolling students the opportunity to make an informed decision prior to enrolling.”

The students accuse school officials of violating the West Virginia Consumer Credit and Protection Act, negligence, breach of contract, unjust enrichment and negligent hiring. The litigants maintain the degrees the college awarded last month are basically worthless because the school lacks accreditation.

See more from The Intelligencer and Wheeling News-Register

Comments are closed.

Subscribe to Our Newsletter

Subscribe to Our Newsletter

And get our latest content in your inbox

Invalid email address