Former students struggle to get transcripts from local military academy, now closed

Problem Solvers

LEXINGTON, Mo. — At the end of the day, the only real proof you have of attending college is your transcript.

That’s why so many graduates of one Missouri military academy are upset. The school is now closed, and their transcripts are missing.

“Please help!” said Cari Russell who contacted FOX4 Problem Solvers when she couldn’t get her daughter Allison’s transcripts.  “I know we are not the only one in this situation.”

Allison Russell had completed three college classes at Wentworth Military Academy, which closed its doors in 2017. She later completed her associate’s degree at another college, but needs that Wentworth transcript to prove she’s eligible to graduate.

There’s no one left at the college to help her.

A note on the door of the main building on the empty campus gives you several numbers to call. We tried. But two of the numbers no longer work, and the voicemail if full on the other one.

The school’s website directs you a national clearinghouse where you can supposedly purchase your transcript, but a message on that site informs you it’s having trouble reaching anyone at Wentworth for the records.

Since 1985, the Missouri Department of Higher Education has required schools to provide for the permanent storage of their records. If a school is closed, usually another school will take over the responsibility.

But that didn’t happen at Wentworth.

Since Problem Solvers couldn’t reach anyone at the school, we visited the Wentworth Military Academy Museum in downtown Lexington, which provides a detailed history of the school’s impressive 137-year history.

The museum is run by a private organization and has nothing to do with maintaining the school’s transcripts, but it did try to help us solve this problem.

With the museum’s help, FOX4 met Rick Cottrell who worked in administration at Wentworth for more than 30 years. He and Ed Stryker, another former Wentworth official, are both volunteering their time to help manage the schools’ transcripts.

“We fully are aware of what we need to do and how we need to do it,” Cottrell said.

He said the pair had gathered and digitized transcripts as far back as 1892, but then health problems intervened.

“He got sick the beginning of January, and I went into the hospital with an eye operation,” said Cottrell, who still lives in a home on the campus.

Both men are now feeling better and when we met with Cottrell in February he said he hoped to have every transcript request filed over the coming weeks.

A month later, Russell said her daughter and several other students had received their transcripts.

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