MSU operations are scheduled to officially cease to exist Dec. 31. MSU officials have appealed the decision, though, and made their final case to the HLC in Chicago last week.
The decision on MSU's appeal is still pending, an HLC representative said Tuesday.
The impending decision from the HLC on the future of MSU will not, however, change UC's plans to open the new locations, UC announced Tuesday.
Welch called the expansion of UC "unprecedented."
"Do you know of another instance in which a financially healthy higher education institution was told it was going to have to close its doors? Do you know of another instance in which two institutions worked together as partners so that one could replace the other not through a merger, but though a startup?" he said. "Now, less than four and a half months later, we are announcing nine new degree programs at three new locations including distance education."
Paul Hill, chancellor of the Higher Education Policy Commission, said UC's expansion was "a huge relief" in response to the MSU situation.
"As you're all aware, we had a very unusual and profound situation. Foremost in our minds was the concern for the students - what opportunities would they have in the future? Where would they be placed? Where would they be able to fulfill their dreams of achieving a college education? There were lots more question marks than answers at that point," Hill said at the press conference Tuesday. "I have to tell you, I was very relieved the day Dr. Welch called me and indicated UC would move forward with full implementation of a merger of sorts."
A full list of the 32 academic programs now offered at UC campuses can be found at www.ucwv.edu.
Online programs include bachelor degrees in accounting, business administration, organizational leadership and psychology, in addition to masters programs in strategic leadership and forensic accounting.The new UC locations will not use the same all-inclusive tuition structure as the main campus. UC will continue offering a pay-per-credit tuition structure at its new locations through the 2013-14 school year.
Reach Mackenzie Mays at mackenzie.m...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-4814.