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The staff editorial is the majority opinion of The Murray State News Editorial Board.
The status of Mid-Continent University has been a question asked by the media, surrounding universities and students. The financial status of our neighboring school, which was once hearsay, has now been confirmed. After months of speculation, the struggling western Kentucky university will be shutting its doors in three weeks. All faculty and staff have been laid off.
While it is unfortunate that a university has to close its doors, it could result in positive developments for the expansion and regional reach of Murray State.
The decision to close Mid-Continent leaves the academic fate of its students hanging in the balance. Some who were set to graduate next semester have no choice but to hope their credits transfer somewhere else.
Non-traditional students and students who take online courses in other regions were severely misinformed about the status of the university and the mass layoffs of staff members. They are left confused, angry and in need of a place to transfer.
Because of the proximity, this should be a time that Murray State tries to accommodate these students who are desperately trying to finish their studies and get the degree that they were promised at Mid-Continent.
In the last budget address, President Tim Miller said increasing enrollment would be a solution to the budgetary problems arising at Murray State.
With this goal at the forefront, we should be seizing the opportunity to enroll a larger demographic of commuting students from Mayfield, Ky. and Paducah, Ky.
Mid-Continent is no longer accepting students for the next academic year, and seniors who are prepared to graduate in May are finishing out the semester with professors and staff that are volunteering their time.
The instability of the situation at Mid-Continent would make Murray State a promising prospect for students who originally saw Mid-Continent as their first choice.
In recent years, Murray State has made it a priority to expand its reach through satellite campuses to Paducah, Ky., Hopkinsville, Ky., Madisonville, Ky., Fort Campbell, Ky., and Henderson, Ky.
Why not a regional campus in Mayfield? A large demographic of students on Murray State’s main campus commute from Mayfield every day.
The majority of Mid-Continent’s student body is part-time students that take online classes, which would make a Murray State satellite campus an attractive option.
According to representatives at Mid-Continent, the financial situation stemmed from the U.S. Department of Education’s rejection of financial aid paperwork.
The paperwork rejection was possibly caused by inaccuracies made by Mid-Continent while filling out the files and bad budgeting.
This should also be a lesson that Murray State learns from, seeing as it is at a low budget point. neglectful paperwork filing, coupled with inexperienced budgetary decisions, can ultimately lead to the end of a university.
This is the chance for Murray State to pick up the pieces that were dropped by Mid-Continent. One school’s mistakes can be opportunity to capitalize and grow.