Forster said despite the confusion and stress felt by students attending MSU at the time it lost accreditation, and despite the negative attention in the past year, UC students have nothing to worry about.
"UC's academic reputation is very strong, and I believe it's enough to give students the confidence that we have the resources to continue strong programs here for years to come," he said. "We have quality faculty here, some of which worked for MSU. You can't let folks who didn't hit the high marks in the past ruin the reputation of others."
UC hired more than 60 former MSU faculty and staff members in Beckley and three in Martinsburg. School officials had projected a total enrollment of 2,000 students with the addition of the new campuses.
But MSU graduated more students than anticipated in its final class, leading the carryover of students to be less than expected.
Though classes start next week, UC is expecting more students to gradually apply once it receives permission from higher education officials to award more financial aid and to accept international students, according to UC President Ed Welch.
"It's exciting to talk to students who say they're glad we're here," Welch said. "Folks in the community have come out just to say they're glad they didn't lose this resource. We're trying to make this transition as smooth as possible, and there's been a very positive response."
John Wetzel of Toledo, Ohio, recently moved to the Beckley area with family and said that MSU's past isn't going to keep him from his future at UC.
"I was going to apply at Mountain State, but then everything happened. I decided it was a good idea to apply anyway. I figured if UC took over they'd do a good job at cleaning it all up," he said. "It's a good school."
The new UC locations will not use the same all-inclusive tuition structure as its main campus, and will continue to offer a pay-per-credit tuition structure through the 2013-14 school year.
A full list of the 32 academic programs now offered at all UC campuses, including new online courses, can be found at www.ucwv.edu.
Reach Mackenzie Mays at mackenzie.m...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-4814.