JACKSON, MS (WLBT) - Virginia College, one of the country’s largest for-profit colleges, is closing.
The Birmingham-based Education Corporation of America has around 20,000 students enrolled in disciplines like cosmetology, culinary arts, medical and dental assistant programs in 75 campuses across the U.S. The ECA also owns Brightwood College, which is also closing its doors.
The ECA closed a third of its campuses for both chains earlier this year as a part of a court-approved receivership, Inside for Higher Education reports. However, the company fell behind on payments to creditors and rent on buildings.
Tuesday evening, the Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools suspended the college’s accreditation. Some employees will remain on campuses to help students get their transcripts and other documents in order.
“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,” Dianne Worthington, a spokeswoman for the company, said in a written statement to Higher Education.
There is a Virginia College on Ridgewood Road in Jackson.
In September, WLBT reported that the Jackson campus of Virginia College would be closing in August 2019. Diane Worthington, Vice President of Marketing Communications, says the company stopped enrolling potential students because there was not sufficient demand in the market for the program.
The following letter was sent out to students at the Jackson campus of Virginia College on December 5.
In early fall, we undertook a path to dramatically restructure Education Corporation of America (parent company of your school) in an effort to best posture it for the future. This plan entailed the teach out of 26 of our campuses and then the commitment of capital from our investors 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. Your campus will close this month. Please contact your Dean or Program Director for the specific closure date of your campus.
You will receive credit for all courses that you completed and passed by the closure date. Information on how to request your transcript will be posted at www.ecacolleges.com within the next few weeks. If you do not graduate this month, we encourage you to continue your career training by requesting your transcript and contacting local schools to determine transferability.
This is clearly not the outcome we envisioned for you or our schools, and it with the utmost regret that we inform you of this direction.
President & CEO
We will have more on this story in tonight’s newscasts.