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College to host transfer fair for Everest students

By By Jack Suntrup
Staff writer

At least one local college is looking to scoop up students affected by the closing of Everest Institute in Cross Lanes.

Mountwest Community and Technical College will host a transfer fair Thursday, July 17 from 2 to 6 p.m. at the Cross Lanes branch of the Kanawha County Public Library.

“We are saddened by the closure of the Everest campus and what that means for Everest students,” Keith J. Cotroneo, Mountwest president, said in a news release. “We are committed to assisting these students who are concerned about their futures and helping them through this time of transition.”

But students enrolled at the Cross Lanes campus may not even need to transition. Though the college is not accepting new students, current students will be allowed to finish their coursework and staff will stay on until they’re no longer needed.

Students enrolled after June 23 will be offered refunds, while refunds for students enrolled before then will be handled on a case-by-case basis.

Kent Jenkins Jr., a spokesman for Corinthian Colleges Inc., which runs Everest, called the closing “gradual” and said he couldn’t comment on Mountwest’s move to recruit students without seeing the details.

Jenkins said the campus, with roughly 125 students, is relatively small compared to other colleges Corinthian runs.

Some students already appear ready to transfer.

Staff with West Virginia Junior College in Charleston have already gotten about six inquires about transferring, said Erik Engberg, the campus president.

That’s not to say the junior college is actively recruiting students, though, Engberg said.

“We’re not actively trying to take students from Everest,” he said. “If someone is already on a path toward completion, then I think they would be better off finishing there. I don’t want to put someone in academic jeopardy just to gain a student. That doesn’t help either one of us, honestly.”

Engberg said that he can’t verify that the students who said they were from Everest are actually enrolled there. He suspects a few had enrolled, but hadn’t yet started classes.

“I haven’t actually seen any transcripts,” he said. “I believe we’re getting students who haven’t actually started.”

While the junior college isn’t soliciting new students from Everest, Mountwest laid out what it says are the benefits of transferring in its news release.

The transcript evaluation fee will be waived for transfers, and representatives from admissions, financial aid and other staff will be at the transfer fair to answer questions, according to the release.

Carrie Stollings, spokeswoman for University of Charleston, said UC’s admissions office has gotten a few calls so far from prospective transfers, but she said no moves are set in stone.

“It’s really too early to know if any of them will enroll,” Stollings said.

The demise of the Cross Lanes Everest Institute happened after Corinthian officials failed to provide U.S. Department of Education officials with enough documents concerning allegations of inflated job placement statistics and altered grades and attendance records.

In June, the department placed a hold on government funds Corinthian was set to receive, which supply a significant amount of Corinthian’s operating budget.

To get the funds back, Corinthian brokered an agreement late last week that included the sale of 85 of its schools and the closing of two dozen more.

The Department of Education is still seeking more documents, and Jenkins has said the company has dedicated 100 employees to the search.

Reach Jack Suntrup at jack.suntrup@wvgazette.com or 304-348-5100.


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