Virginia Intermont loses merger partner

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Virginia Intermont College in Bristol and Webber International University in Florida have called off plans to merge this summer.

The financially struggling Virginia college said the two schools had concluded “we do not have a viable model for merger in July.”

The two institutions had announced plans to merge in late January.

Virginia Intermont had been searching for a merger partner since losing an appeal to the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on College (SACSCOC) and filing suit against the regional accrediting organization.

SACSCOC had raised concerns about the college’s finances in voting to remove Virginia Intermont from membership in the organization.

The college filed its lawsuit when an appeal of accrediting agency’s decision was denied. Virginia Intermont remains accredited by AACS until its lawsuit is settled.

The college has stressed that SACSCOC’s actions are prompted by its finances, not its academics.

Virginia Intermont said failure of the Webber International University merger will not interfere with its plans to complete the spring semester
and hold graduation on schedule. 

The school also expects to offer its eight-week summer session, which concludes on June 27. 

“Due to this decision, we are moving with haste to guarantee accredited options beyond July 1 for our students who are not slated for graduation,” the college said in a statement.  We will also immediately call faculty and staff in to discuss plans for operating over the coming months.”

Virginia Intermont said it has kept SACSCOC apprised of its situation. The accrediting agency had consented to a court injunction barring action of the school’s membership until July 1.

The school, founded in 1884, offers a liberal arts education and bachelor’s degrees in a  wide range of academic concentrations.

The State Council of Higher Education for Virginia lists the college having fall enrollment of 337 full-time and 41 part-time students

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