Mid-Continent University denied funding from feds

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Reporter - Jason Hibbs
Photojournalist - David Dycus

GRAVES COUNTY, KY.---The Mid-Continent University president told Local 6 the Department Of Education is withholding nine million dollars from his university. The issue started back in 2010 and concerns Mid-Continent's record keeping procedures.

The Education Department will not release federal grant and loan money until the school changes their bookkeeping practices.

Since 2010, the university has footed the bill for students receiving federal grants and loans.

President Bob Imhoff said it has to do with course and semester classification.  One thing making Mid-Continent so unique is they have a very flexible course schedule. They don't have two traditional semesters like most schools, they have five-week modules.

But that's the thing causing trouble. The university has not been properly documenting those modules. They've been trying to fix it for years but they can't get it right. The president said another thing this school can't do, is operate long-term without the millions of much needed dollars.

Wednesday was a peaceful day at Mid-Continent University.

But to keep things as they are, school administrators have to make changes, and fast.

"You got to do compliance, you don't have any choice," President Bob Imhoff said.

Since 2010, the Department of Education hasn't paid the school federal loans or grants because of the school's improper record keeping.

Mid-Continent has covered the cost up to nine-million dollars. and the president says he'll rely on faith, and friends if he has to, until the errors are corrected.

"We get friends who might be willing to help anyway. I was on the phone last night with a fellow who has a few million," Imhoff said.

He hopes it doesn't come to that, and said administrators are scurrying to correct the errors.

"Don't think for a minute just because our faith is in the Lord we are not working day and night to get these submissions done and right," Imhoff said.

Imhoff said the university hired consultants after they first learned of their noncompliance in 2010.
He said those consultants tried to fix the issues, didn't get it right and were fired after a year and a half of working.
Mid-Continent has new consultants now.

For the second year in a row, Mid-Continent has also had trouble with accreditation.
They're on a warning list with sacs, The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.

The president said there were several issues that SACS was concerned about. Some of them had to do with the record keeping procedures discussed in this story.

A Mid-Continent Trustee and Finance Committee member reached out to Local 6 and told us trustees didn't learn about the situation until October of last year. He says he's confident the issues will be resolved soon. The next board meeting is 9:45 Saturday Morning

We asked the Southern Association of Colleges what would happen if Mid-Continent loses its accreditation.

The SACS President said Mid-Continent could continue to operate but wouldn't receive state or federal financial aid. It would also create a hardship for students.

"Those institutions that are accredited tend not to accept the credits from those institutions.
It also makes it harder for some students to get jobs, because employers want to make sure the education they got was from an accredited institution," SACS President Belle Wheelan, said.

The SACS President said the loss of accreditation would not decrease the value of degrees already earned.

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