By Sarah Plummer
In accordance with their appeal process, the Higher Learning Commission has granted Mountain State University an accrediting extension through the fall semester.
The commission acted during their June 28 board meeting to withdraw accreditation effective August 27. The University, however, has filed an intent to appeal that decision, forcing the commission to extend the accreditation through the appeals process.
According to a public disclosure notice posted on the HLC website, the appeals process will conclude no later than Nov. 12 and will not include any information about improvements or changes made by MSU after the official revocation action was taken in late June.
Dr. Jerry Ice, chairman of Mountain State University’s Board of Trustees, explained that he believes the extension through Dec. 31 is a “pretty typical reaction to the intent to appeal.”
Although the school expects to find out the results of their appeal in November, Ice explained the commission would not withdraw accreditation during a semester.
“This gives returning students the chance to earn credits for courses from an accredited institution through Dec. 31. This helps every student. There is no longer a rush and an absolute need to transfer immediately. It gives all the current seniors the chance to complete degrees by Dec. 31,” he said.
Ice said in the schools intent to appeal, which was filed with the Higher Learning Commission this week, Mountain State University asserted that extending accreditation through June would allow nearly half of the current students to graduate.
He commented that he was disappointed that chance was not afforded the university at this point.
Mountain State University’s formal appeal is due to the commission by August 6.
Ice said the next step will be arranging an independent panel of educators from Higher Learning Commission accredited institutions to hear the appeal.
“Our hope is that an independent group that has not had involvement up to this point would listen to our concerns and allows us to indicate why we believe we are in compliance with the commission’s demands and give us the chance to show evidence and documentation of these changes,” Ice added.
If the independent panel sustains the Higher Learning Commission’s action, the decision to withdraw accreditation will become final.
Mountain State University was also required to submit a teach-out plan to the commission this week. The teach-out plan and date will be set by the Higher Learning Commission before the start of the fall semester.
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