Paducah – The majority of former Mid-Continent University students with financial obligations to the now-shuttered school have received information packets outlining their repayment options.
Information packets are being sent to some 1,300 students, according to Tim Walker, MCU vice president of finance and administration.
“We’re still working on a few (packets),” said Walker. “The majority have been sent out.”
The mailings follow an agreement between the Mayfield-based college and the Kentucky Attorney General’s Office announced July 13. The agreement restores the rights of former students to what they would have been had they received expected federal financial aid, according to Attorney General Jack Conway.
The agreement resolves the attorney general’s allegations that between 2011 and 2014, MCU violated state consumer protection laws by failing to disclose to students they would not be able to receive federal aid to pay for their costs at MCU. The agreement requires the college to offer loans matching the terms of federal student loans for all remaining balances of students who applied and qualified for, but did not receive, federal loans.
The MCU mailing includes a copy of the agreement and information about the students’ balance and repayment options.
“We’re getting expected calls from students and clarifying the issues,” Walker said. “We’re answering their questions, spending a lot of time with them. There’s a lot of details to go through. We’re glad it’s in writing so they can study it.”
Chery Pierce of Paducah, an MCU student in 2013-14, was among those receiving the mailing.
“I’m very grateful for the options they gave us for payment,” Pierce said. “I feel it’s fair.”
Pierce selected the option of a 20 percent discount on an up to 10-year, zero-interest loan to pay off her balance. All of her credits transferred to Murray State University, and she graduated from MSU in 2015.
“If I didn’t pay them (the bills for MCU classes), I would not have gotten the credit, and I would have had to take the classes over,” Pierce said.
Allison Martin, a spokeswoman with the attorney general’s office, said the office has received a couple of inquiries from students seeking clarification.
“It’s a process,” Martin said. “We want to make sure the students are taken care of.”
Students seeking additional information can e-mail the office of attorney general, at firstname.lastname@example.org, or call 855-813-6507, Martin said. Some students may feel more comfortable having an attorney help them, she said, and can make their own arrangements or seek help from the Kentucky Legal Aid office in Paducah at 800-467-2218.
Mid-Continent stopped offering classes and closed its doors in June 2014 and filed for bankruptcy a few months later. The school has about 300 creditors in its ongoing bankruptcy case. The outstanding financial obligations of former students to MCU total more then $11 million, according to Walker.
Providing the information to students about repayment options is critical for the college “to get a cash flow established and see where the future of Mid-Continent will be going,” he said.
That future could include, under the direction of the university’s board of directors, again offering biblical studies of some type, Walker said. (KPA)
David Zoeller, The Paducah Sun