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Concordia offers help to displaced students

By Adam Dodson | The Selma Times-Journal

With the imminent closing of Concordia College Alabama due to financial issues, the committed CCA staff wanted to go the extra mile to ensure the peace of mind of their students by working with universities all over the country to set up programs to make the transition process as smooth as possible.

This includes teach-out programs, which will allow students to transfer to other universities that Concordia has entered a teach-out agreement with and finish their degrees without any more complications.

According to Concordia President, Dr. James Lyons, there are schools all over the nation who have reached out to Concordia to discuss transferring students to their institutions through these teach-out agreements. However, Dr. Lyons will not release the names of schools until all agreements are official.

Despite the anonymity, Lyons assures that the interest is there, saying they have been in contact with several institutions.

“They will vary by location, Lutheran or non-Lutheran, private and public and Concordia and non-Concordia-affiliated, so students have plenty of choices available to them,” said Lyons. “Some want to help in a general way, such as recruiting our kids to their schools. Others want to make a stronger commitment. They want to do everything they can. The teach-out goal is a stronger commitment.”

Along with the strong commitment to student aid associated with the teach-out programs, universities are getting creative in their help to Concordia students in other ways. According to Lyons, some schools are waiving their out of state fees for CCA students. Another school is willing to accept students upon showing their transcript, while others have promised to work with students on their majors. One school in particular, Talladega College, has waived the application fees for Concordia students and is providing them with an automatic $5,000 transfer scholarship and a $3,020 one-year housing grant.

According to Talladega’s director of admissions, Victoria Boman, Talladega and CCA have mutually agreed to enter into a teach-out program available for any of the students interested. Lyons said there is “no question” about whether or not CCA students will be allowed to transfer their credits over to their new universities, understanding the pressure that could come from losing credit hours. While Lyons and those associated with Concordia are going through troubling and emotional times, Lyons is very appreciative of those who have stepped up to assist in their inevitable closure.

“Closing is a painful process. It hurts. But one of the good things has been seeing these institutions want to step in and help,” Lyons said.

As Lyons continues to have schools reach out to Concordia to offer help, all schools interested in entering teach-out agreements with CCA must be approved by the Commission of Colleges from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools. Until receiving approval from the Southern Association, some of the universities and institutions in talks with CCA will be unknown.