Newspaper article Charleston Gazette Mail

Business College Censured ; Loss of Accreditation Could Hurt Students

Newspaper article Charleston Gazette Mail

Business College Censured ; Loss of Accreditation Could Hurt Students

Article excerpt

The West Virginia Business College, with campuses in Wheeling and Nutter Fort, was not re-accredited and its students could risk losing access to federal financial aid unless the school wins an appeal of the decision. The school's current accreditor, the Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools, denied the school's request for re-accreditation at a December meeting. Citing "substantive noncompliance with accreditation requirements, the council sent a letter to the school ordering it to develop a plan to teach out all of its current students by the end of January.

Only schools that are accredited by a federally recognized agency can access Title IV funds, which include federal student loans and Pell Grants. In WVBC's 2014 fiscal year, about 77 percent of the school's revenue came from Title IV funds, according to data from the U.S. Department of Education.

The ACICS claimed in a 12-page letter that the administrator of the school's surgical technology program doesn't have enough time to run the program and isn't qualified to teach its classes. The letter claims that administrator Debra Hammitt has a diploma only in surgical technology and "four months of unverified and limited experience in an oral surgeon's office, which the council said is not enough to teach classes for an associate's degree.

The ACICS also said in the letter that at least one woman was teaching a phlebotomy course before having a certificate in phlebotomy, that there is no evidence the school "reflects the highest ethical standards in its relations with students and that it didn't follow its stated refund policy for student financial aid.

"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,' the letter reads.

In 2013, the last time the school sought to be re-accredited, it took five ACICS reviews to demonstrate that it had fixed problems the council found then, according to the letter.

The move to deny the re-accreditation came in early December, just as the ACICS itself was dealt a blow. Over the summer, the federal Department of Education began the process to no longer recognize the ACICS as an accrediting body, putting hundreds of colleges across the country, including six for-profit schools in West Virginia, in jeopardy. …

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