CHARLESTON, W.Va. — The state Higher Education Policy Commission is taking a closer look at three accredited colleges and universities in West Virginia.
A 2011 state law allows the HEPC to authorize and annually reauthorize all public and private schools in West Virginia. It’s to make sure those schools maintain quality education standards. The legislature’s intent was to provide the information for consumer protection.
The first reauthorization of all of the institutions was up for a vote at last week’s commission meeting but the HEPC decided not to do so right now for Salem International University in Harrison County, Ohio Valley University in Vienna and Future Generations grad school in Franklin.
HEPC Senior Director of Communications Jessica Tice said the commission has the authority to conduct further reviews.
“In looking at the data last week the commission asked (HEPC) staff to do a deeper dive related to these schools,” Tice said.
Salem International is currently on notice from the national accrediting body, the Higher Learning Commission and Ohio Valley just emerged from an HLC review. She said the HEPC just doesn’t know a lot about Future Generations.
“They weren’t quite prepared to fully bless at this point but pending more information and additional work by commission staff we might be in that place in the coming months,” according to Tice.
All of the information from all of the higher education institutions in the state, including WVU and Marshall, is listed on the HEPC website for prospective students and parents to see. Things like retention rates, loan default rates, drug law violators and many other factors.
Tice reiterated all three schools under further review remain accredited and students should not be impacted by the HEPC’s closer look.
The new law followed the controversy at Beckley-based Mountain State University which lost its accreditation leaving students looking for a place to transfer. The school eventually closed.
“The commission certainly wants to avoid that scenario in the future,” Tice said.
WVU and Marshall provide the information for the HEPC’s website but are exempted from the reauthorization process.