Alderson Broaddus 64ca8a8608952

Financially struggling university in West Virginia decides to close

Aug. 2, 2023
The decision to close Alderson Broaddus University in Philippi affects 625 students.

Alderson Broaddus University, a financially struggling Baptist institution in Philippi, West Virginia, has decided to close.

The Charleston Gazette-Mail reports that the decision, announced just before the start of fall classes, has thrown the lives of the university's 625 students into disarray. 

The university’s Board of Trustees voted to develop a plan to disband after another board overseeing West Virginia's four-year colleges and universities revoked the small school’s ability to award degrees.

Members of the Higher Education Policy Commission concluded that the financial liabilities at Alderson Broaddus were unsustainable and that students would be at risk of a campus shutdown at mid-semester. The Commission prohibited Alderson Broaddus from awarding degrees starting Dec. 31.

Other state universities, including West Virginia Wesleyan in nearby Buckhannon and Fairmont State University in Fairmont, have offered application and transcript evaluation assistance to Alderson Broaddus students.

Alderson Broaddus, which was founded in 1932, has been struggling financially for several years. A bank official said in 2015 that the university had defaulted on repayment of bonds totaling more than $36 million. An accreditor, the Higher Learning Commission, placed the school on probation in 2017, then lifted it in 2019.

The commission also was told last month that the U.S. Department of Agriculture had previously agreed to restructure a $27 million loan to the university to allow for a more flexible cash flow. The school was offered assistance through a program providing loans and grants to help expand economic opportunities and create jobs in rural areas.

The university also sought alumni contributions this year to help meet payroll.

About the Author

Mike Kennedy | Senior Editor

Mike Kennedy, senior editor, has written for AS&U on a wide range of educational issues since 1999.

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