Radford University, Jefferson College one step closer to merger

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ROANOKE, Va (WDBJ7) Jefferson College of Health Science is now one step closer to becoming part of the Radford University family. This month, the Virginia General Assembly unanimously passed, and Governor Ralph Northam signed, a bill authorizing the merger.

"We are thrilled," said Radford University Spokesperson Caitlyn Scaggs. According to Scaggs, state government approval marks an important milestone in bringing the two institutions together.

"The significance of this approval is a clear demonstration of the overwhelming support for our bold initiative with this merger."

The merger was first announced in January 2018. It will add Jefferson College, a Carillion Clinic-owned, 1,100-student private institution, to Radford University's Waldron College of Health Sciences. Most programs at Jefferson, from nursing to emergency services, will remain as part of the new Radford University Roanoke division.

Carillion, Jefferson, and Radford already work alongside one another at Carillion Community Hospital in Roanoke, making the merger a natural fit, according to officials. "All the partners involved in this have a longstanding history of working together," said Scaggs.

With state approval out of the way, the next major hurdle is accreditation. "That's one critical step," said Scaggs. Accreditation for the merged schooled will be examined by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges. SACSCOC is currently the accrediting body for both Radford and Jefferson.

Officials hope to have that process complete in June, with the first students starting at the Radford Roanoke Division in August 2019.