An array of online services and expanded course offerings are just some of the benefits students at Potomac State College of West Virginia University will reap when the 104-year-old school becomes a division of the University, officials say.

Potomac States transition from a regional campus of WVU to a fully integrated unit much like a college or school on the Morgantown campus takes effect Friday (July 1). Legislation passed in 2003 strengthened the WVU -Potomac State relationship.

The new arrangement involves both organizational and operational changes for the Keyser school and its 1,300 students.

The schools administratorKerry Odellhas the title of provost. Previously, the head of the college held the titles of president of the institution and regional vice president of WVU . The Board of Advisers will become a Board of Visitors with authority and responsibility similar to those of visiting committees for colleges in Morgantown.

From an operational standpoint, Potomac State will be able to offer services under WVU s umbrella that it could not afford to provide as a regional campus with its own budget.

As a unified institution, we can get economies of scale that they couldnt get as an independent institution,said Russ Dean, an associate provost on the Morgantown campus who is helping to oversee the transition.

These new services and benefits include:

  • STAR , WVUs online customer service system. Using BANNER software, STAR enables students to register for classes, check their grades, learn their financial status, pay bills and moreall with the click of a mouse.
  • Mountaineer Information Express, or MIX , the Universitys Web site for faculty and students. Students can log on to MIX to check their e-mail, register for classes or browse the Internet.
  • Mountie Bounty, a feature of WVU s student identification card. At Potomac State, students will be able to use this card to pay for meals, laundry services or snacks.
  • A bachelors of applied science degree in criminal justice. Officials at the primarily two-year school hope this is the start of a number of baccalaureate programs offered on the campus.
  • Executive MBA . WVUs College of Business and Economics will begin offering the program in Keyser starting January.
  • Integrated marketing and communications efforts. WVU shared information and expertise in developing new enrollment management initiatives, an Intranet site and an in-house communications system on the Keyser campus PSC E -News. The University also offered combined marketing opportunities throughout the region.
  • WVU scholarship program. Starting this fall, new freshmen who enroll at Potomac State and transfer to WVU will be eligible for WVU scholarships they would have received had they initially enrolled in Morgantown. Potomac State continues to be a lead source for new WVU transfer students, having had 106 student transfer to the University last year. Officials see the scholarship as an incentive for more students to go to Morgantown to complete a four-year degree.
  • A $12.25 million, 200-bed residence hall. A part of WVU s latest capital improvements bond package, the new dorm will accommodate growing enrollment and complement four existing dorms that house 350 students.

Odell and Dean said the integration of Potomac State as a division of WVU is a logical step in the progression of the two schoolsrelationshipone that will benefit both institutions for years.

This is an extremely exciting time for Potomac State,Odell said.Were designing a new residence hall, addressing curriculum with the addition of a baccalaureate program and collaborating with other colleges at the University.