By CASEY JUNKINS
The Intelligencer and Wheeling News-Register
WHEELING, W.Va. — A day after conferring degrees to graduating students, West Virginia Business College officials learned the school will not be allowed to operate after June 30, as the West Virginia Council for Community and Technical College Education upheld an April decision to revoke the school’s operating permit.
Candace Kraus, attorney for the Council for Community and Technical College Education, said this also means the students who received what they believed to be associate’s degrees during the Wednesday commencement got them from an institution that is not authorized to award such academic recognition.
“Students who graduated from West Virginia Business College (Wednesday) received a degree from a school that is not accredited,” she said Thursday after the council met in Charleston.
The college had appealed the council’s April decision to revoke its operating permit, which the school lost amid ongoing accreditation struggles. Kraus said after the meeting Thursday that the school’s appeal is denied.
“As West Virginia Business College does not hold accreditation by any regional or national accrediting agency, it does not meet the definition of (an) accredited school for purposes of awarding an associate degree, and is therefore ineligible to award associate degrees,” Kraus added.
The business college currently operates at both 1052 Main St. in downtown Wheeling and in Nutter Fort, W.Va., just south of Clarksburg.
College officials did not respond to multiple requests for comment.
The school’s problems surfaced when, late last year, the Washington, D.C.-based Accrediting Council on Independent Colleges and Schools issued a report about alleged problems at the business college.
Among the findings in the accrediting council’s report were that “the surgical technology program administrator does not have the qualifications to administer or teach in the program.
“It is especially disconcerting that some students and faculty have claimed that the campus is taking out loans without student approval and other students are convinced that the school is ‘stealing their money.’”
West Virginia Business College’s accreditation issues could be solved, and its permit to operate reinstated, if it finds another body willing to grant accreditation.
“West Virginia Business College can continue to pursue accreditation from an accrediting agency other than ACICS after its permit is withdrawn.
If accreditation is achieved, WVBC can seek a permit to operate at that time,” Kraus said.
Accreditation is only one of the school’s problems, however.
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.
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