Thousands of students furthering their education at for-profit institutions discovered on Wednesday their college was shutting down.
According to the Associated Press, the Education Corporation of America, which operates 75 campus chains across the country, including Virginia College, Brightwood College, Brightwood Career Institute, Ecotech Institute, and the Golf Academy of America, suddenly announced it would close its doors because of a bucketload of issues, including financial troubles and loss of accreditation.
On Tuesday, the American Council for Independent Colleges and schools sent a letter to the Education Corp CEO Stuart Reed, suspending the school’s accreditation. At issue was the staff turnover at the chain of colleges, the low percentage of students who ultimately graduated or received certifications, and the low number of graduates who went on to get jobs in the fields in which they were trained.
Today, students at the colleges received letters from Reed that said:
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
Students can try to transfer their credits to other institutions or petition the Department of Education to forgive their loans because the college closed... Maybe.
Earlier this year, education secretary Betsy DeVos began lobbying to make students responsible for repaying student loans, even in the case of predatory practices and schools that close. As The Root’s Monique judge wrote in July:
Under the DeVos proposal, student borrowers would be responsible for proving that a for-profit institution either knowingly misled them or acted with “reckless disregard for the truth.” It would also be mandatory for students to find another school to accept their existing credits if their college closed.
The 20,000 students of Education Corp. are just the latest crop of for-profit college attendees to be left in the cold. Corinthian Colleges closed in 2015, and in 2016, ITT closed its doors. I don’t know what ITT stands for, but I have been assured that whatever it is, “that’s not itt.”
Perhaps they can transfer to Trump University.