LUBBOCK, TX (KCBD) - Virginia College, the for-profit college owned by Alabama-based Education Corporation of America, is closing down due to financial and educational circumstances.
In an email sent out to the roughly 20,000 students of the college on Wednesday, Stu Reed, Virginia College president and CEO, announced that operations would be discontinued and enrollment into future classes would be cancelled.
“It is with extreme regret that this series of recent circumstances has forced us to discontinue the operations of our schools,” Reed wrote in the college-wide email. “Unfortunately, this means that your enrollment will be cancelled and there will not be future classes at the campus in which you enrolled or any Education Corporation of America campuses.”
The closure comes after the Accrediting Council for Independent College and Schools suspended the college’s accreditation Tuesday night. That was added on top of years of financial hardships and more than one-third of its campuses shutting down within the last few years.
ECA is the owner of more than 75 campuses around the country, enrolls an estimated 20,000-plus students and also owns Brightwood College, according to Inside Higher Education. The schools are usually focused on culinary arts, cosmetology and medical and dental assistant programs.
The company closed a number of campuses for both chains earlier this year as a part of a court-approved receivership. However, the company fell behind on payments to creditors and rent on buildings.
Courses are set to finish within the next two weeks and afterward the colleges will shut down, according to Inside Higher Education. The school also announced some employees will remain on campuses to help students get their transcripts and other documents in order. However, the Lubbock campus said it will shut down on Friday.
“After many years of training students for new careers, it is with a heavy heart that today we announce that Education Corporation of America is closing all its career colleges effective with the completion of the current module or term for most students,” Diane Worthington, a spokeswoman for the company, told Inside Higher Education. “We will work with students to ensure access to their transcripts so they can complete their studies at another school. We are proud of our thousands of graduates who have entered the work force with skills they acquired at our schools along with our faculty and staff who have shown unwavering support for our students. This is not the outcome that we envisioned and is one that we recognize will have a dramatic effect on our students, employees and many partners.”
Take a look at the full email sent to students:
In early fall, we undertook a path to dramatically restructure Education Corporation of America* (parent company of the campus in which you applied) to best posture it for the future. This plan entailed the commitment of additional funds from investors.
However, recently, the Department of Education added requirements that made operating our schools more challenging. In addition, last night ACICS suspended our schools' accreditation with intent to withdraw. The uncertainty of these requirements resulted in an inability to acquire additional capital to operate our schools.
It is with extreme regret that this series of recent circumstances has forced us to discontinue the operations of our schools. Unfortunately, this means that your enrollment will be cancelled and there will not be future classes at the campus in which you enrolled or any Education Corporation of America campuses.
We encourage you to pursue your career training with another school in your area that offers the same or similar program.
This is clearly not the outcome we envisioned for you or our schools, and it with the utmost regret that I inform you of this direction.
President & CEO
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