Virginia College, Other For-Profit Institutions, Abruptly Close Campuses Across the Country

Illustration for article titled Virginia College, Other For-Profit Institutions, Abruptly Close Campuses Across the Country
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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:

Dear 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.

Stu Reed,

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.

World-renowned wypipologist. Getter and doer of "it." Never reneged, never will. Last real negus alive.

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If you look at the after college earnings of students that attend for profit colleges, they are definitely lower than those of students in not-for profit schools. They are also far more likely to default on their student loans.

But despite all that, there are students who attend them that wind up making more money than they themselves would have made, and who don’t default on their student loans.

Some of these students couldn’t have attended a not for profit college because one thing for profit colleges offer on a much wider basis is online only education. For some people, especially working parents, inflexible class schedules, especially in advanced level coursework where class offerings can be more limited if you don’t attend one of the state’s flagship universities, is just as much a barrier to completing college as tuition costs.

For those people, shit like this sucks.

If I were king for a day, one of my edicts would be to force them to be guarantors on every single dollar of money borrowed by their students in most situations. If the student defaults for any reason other than something like a prison sentence the college has to step up. That would have the effect of shutting them down for the most part, but it would do it in a way that would make a valuable point, which is that they would never have the guts to stand behind their product.