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Students at Virginia Intermont concerned about future

By Megan Brantley, mbrantley@wcyb.com
Published On: Apr 10 2013 08:40:56 PM CDT
Updated On: Apr 10 2013 09:00:00 PM CDT

Virginia Intermont College also has a recent history of money problems, including current financial issues.

BRISTOL, Va. -

It is a place with a great history of excellence, perhaps best known for its award-winning equine program.

Virginia Intermont College also has a recent history of money problems, including current financial issues.

The school has been put on probation by its accreditation agency and we wanted to know how serious the money issues are.

Some students at the small private college say they're having the same problem and tonight, they are worried about the future.

"VI has been struggling with finances for several years. This is nothing new. Nothing that's come up over the past 6 months, it's something that's been happening," said Ronda Gentry, Vice President of Institutional Advancement.

Gentry has heard concerns about the school's financial standing. Concerns from those on and off campus. We asked about the money situation, specifically what are the current issues: "What is the hardest thing you are dealing with, with your finances,” Megan Brantley asked. “Well, finances are hard," said Gentry.

The only thing she would say was it stemmed from years of struggling and the after-effects of the bad economy. Some students told me there's been the same lack of information when they inquire too. "Um.. it makes me really nervous," said Aaron Bradley, Junior at Virginia Intertmont.

"They think they're being open with us and I guess they are, but they're saying it in such lawyer-like terms and such ways that I don't understand what they're talking about," said Rachel Eppard, Senior at Virginia Intermont.

Eppard says the two things she does know is the school is in trouble financially and so is their accreditation. "If the school doesn't have enough money then obviously it's going to close down," said Eppard.

While she wouldn't give me specifics on the financial problems, Gentry did say VI has no intentions of closing. "We've been around for 100 years, I fully expect us to be around for 100 more. Closing is not an option for us. It's not something we want to do or expect to do," said Gentry.

She says they're working to rebuild and change. "We're creating and building a strong foundation, cleaning up our practices so we are better accountable to the way we handle funds," said Gentry.

Gentry says it will take time to fix the financial woes.

"This isn't something you cure overnight, Dr. Phillips and the administration have been working on it for 2-3 years and it's going to take a few more years to make sure we do it well," said Gentry.

Now we asked to see financial records, but Virginia Intermont would not disclose this year's finances.

When we asked about talking to students on campus, VI officials promptly escorted us out of the building and watched us drive away.