CHARLESTON, W.Va. –The University of Charleston and attorneys representing former students at the now defunct Mountain State University announced a proposed settlement Wednesday which will end numerous individual and class action lawsuits which followed the closing of the school in Beckley and Martinsburg.

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Part of the settlement calls for the liquidation of former MSU campus buildings and equipment in Beckley and Martinsbug.

More than 400 individual suits were filed along with at least two class action suits in state court and two in federal court when the school lost its accreditation. The largest group was about 600 nursing students who suffered the most harm when their program was stripped of accreditation a year before the entire school was discredited.

“The students were seeking damages from the closure of MSU and loss of accreditation, ” said plaintiff’s attorney Anthony Majestro. “That took the form of delayed educational opportunities, delayed entry into the workforce, student loans, expenses, it runs the whole gamut.”

Under the proposed settlement, which still needs court approval, a pool of money would be set up for those former MSU students to share.  Funds for the pool of money come three three different sources. There will be a claim from Mountain State’s insurance company, an unknown amount of money owed to Mountain State by the U.S.Department of Education, and all real estate and assets at the former locations in Beckley and Martinsburg will be liquidated.

“We know there’s $8.5 million in insurance money going into the fund,” Majestro said. “The rest of the money, we’re not certain. MSU is still trying to resolve the amount of money its owed by the Department of Education and the sale of real estate is something nobody can predict with any certainty.”

Additionally, the University of Charleston will offer tuition assistance to those former Mountain State students who wish to attend U-C.

“We’re going to offer tuition assistance to this one group who have not completed their degree,” said University of Charleston President Ed Welch. “To help them come to the University of Charleston and complete their work.”

It’s unclear how many former students will be in the class to share in the money. The number could be as high as 14,000 ex-students who are still in limbo after Mountain State’s collapse.  Welch pointed out 416 former Mountain State students have already completed a degree from the University of Charleston.

The sale of the properties will force the University of Charleston to vacate those facilities in Beckley and Martinsburg by the end of the 2014-15 academic year. Welch said despite the shift in satellite campus locations, they intend to continue their presence in both locations.

“We need to find a location in Beckley where we can continue to offer those programs,” said Welch. “We forecast the regional expansion will continue to grow. We’re excited about that and this just helps make the university a stronger university.”

The Martinsburg campus will transfer to the West Virginia National Guard facilities in Berkeley County and Welch said because most of the students served in the location are members of the National Guard he envisions the guard base will become the school’s permanent home in the eastern panhandle.

A court hearing is scheduled in October to take up the proposal.

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Comments

  • Sammi Masley

    I also need to find out how to become part of this.

  • Jessica Davis

    I also need to find out how to be included in this lawsuit. I was an online student and live in Tennessee, so I was not aware of the lawsuit situation. I started MSU in 2010 and was close to graduating when this occurred. Now it has left me with large student loan debt and no degree. I am a single mother of 3 and lost at what to do in this situation. Anyone with information can contact me at NikkiDavis82@gmail.com .
    Thank you!

  • Cristie West

    What can I do to be a part of this settlement and to tell my story? I am a single mother of two children so hiring an attorney is out of the question for me. I don't have that kind of money

  • CT

    What about the kids that transfered to other schools then when UC brought back Culinary Arts, transfered back only to get a letter from UC saying they will no longer have Culinary Arts so now they have to transfer to yet another school to finish. These students including my daughter were in a 4 year program now getting help from Pierpont college (which is a 2 year program) my daughter will have went to school for over 5 years to get a 2 year degree. This is not how your college years are suppose to go, I think some of their debt should be forgiven. Polk should be in jail right now but he has money so nothing will be done to him, also the board of directers of MSU should be held accountable just like Polk should, they knew this was going on and never said or did anything about it.

  • Jim slade

    What about good Ole Charles polk? How is he nowadays

  • Ha

    millions to the lawyers, couple hundred bucks to the students. yep, that's fair.