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Students’ Lives Are in Chaos as a Result of the West Virginia College’s Closure Announcement

Students' Lives Are in Chaos as a Result of the West Virginia College's Closure Announcement (1)

A debt-ridden West Virginia institution announced right before the start of fall classes that it wants to discontinue operations, throwing the lives of hundreds of students like Ashton Miller into upheaval.

After a different board responsible for the state’s four-year colleges and universities removed the small private school’s authorization to confer degrees as of December 31, the Board of Trustees of Alderson Broaddus University agreed Monday night to prepare a plan to disband.

The 625 students at the Philippi campus of the Baptist university are abandoning ship. Soon, campuses around the country will be alive with student life. Students’ reactions to the decision ranged from sadness and dissatisfaction to anger and confusion. “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 participated in wrestling for the Battlers. He claimed to have learned of the closure through rumors.“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.”

The tweet below verifies the news:

On August 31, Alderson Broaddus was scheduled to play in Philippi, West Virginia. The entire season has ended, along with those of all other sports and co-curricular activities at the school. “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.” Athletes from Alderson Broaddus are suddenly using social media as a transfer portal, advertising their availability and showcasing their accomplishments for potential recruiters to see.

Miller noticed that the majority of the wrestlers and other athletes he knew at Alderson Broaddus were not locals. Miller, a resident of Prince George, Virginia, has reported that the transfer deadlines for the colleges in his home state had passed. Some colleges in West Virginia may offer him early admission.

Students at Alderson Broaddus College have had the option of receiving application and transcript evaluation support from other state universities, such as West Virginia Wesleyan College in nearby Buckhannon and Fairmont State University in Fairmont.

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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 University has announced the creation of a scholarship endowment for incoming students from Alderson Broaddus University. The precise date on which Alderson Broaddus will be dissolved has not yet been disclosed. The school’s Monday night statement lacked clarity.

Board chairman James Garvin released a statement in which Alderson Broaddus expressed plans to provide additional resources for the school’s students, teachers, and administrators. The Higher Education Policy Commission voted earlier on Monday to prevent Alderson Broaddus from conferring degrees after December 31.

The commission has also given its chancellor the authority to write an order dictating the school’s next measures, which include not accepting new students and not allowing returning students to come back, with the exception of seniors who are slated to graduate at the end of the autumn term.

Since its inception in 1932, Alderson Broaddus has been experiencing financial difficulties. In 2015, a bank official reported that the school had failed to repay more than $36 million in bonds. The Higher Learning Commission, an accrediting body, put the university on probation in 2017 but removed the restriction this year.

Utility bills totaling $775,000 contributed to the financial strain. If the institution failed to make a payment to the city of Philippi by Monday, the city threatened to cut off the university’s electricity. At the commission meeting on Monday, Garvin stated that a payment of $67 thousand had been paid.

Commission members were informed last month that the USDA had agreed to restructure a $27 million loan to the school in order to improve its liquidity. A USDA program that gives out loans and grants to improve economic possibilities and generate employment in rural regions offered to help the school out.

In order to pay its employees this year, the institution also solicited financial support from its alumni. Avery James, a current student, has commented on the difficulties associated with the university’s closing. “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.

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