Columbia, SC (WLTX) - Virginia College is shutting down campuses across the country, including its location in Columbia.
Students at the school, located near on Two Notch Road near the Columbia Place Mall, learned Wednesday their school would shut down this month. The school had announced in September that it would no longer continue to enroll new students, but said that current students would still be able to complete their programs.
"We just picked up all of these student loans for no certificates, degrees or anything," says Gregory Poulos, who was taking classes to become a pharmaceutical technician. He had three months left before he finished his certification.
But now the college says they will close soon. In a statement, Virginia College President and CEO Stu Reed said new Department of Education requirements made "operating the school more challenging." He also said that the school's accreditation had been suspended, and was likely to be withdrawn. With these problems, the school said it wouldn't have the money to keep operating.
The school said students will receive credit for all courses completed and passed by the closing. It will give students transcripts so they can continue their education somewhere else.
"You put so much into schooling and then for somebody to just tell you you're not going to do it anymore, at this school, at this institute, it's just a slap in the face," says Jada Sumter, who was also expecting to finish her pharmaceutical certificate in the spring.
Virginia College's parent company, Education Corporation of America, also said it would close all of its career colleges. Those include Brightwood Career Institute, Brightwood College, Culinard, Ecotech Institute and the Golf Academy of America.
After many years of training students for new careers, it is with a heavy heart that today we announce that ECA is closing all its career colleges.
We will work with students to ensure access to their transcripts so they can complete their studies at another school.
Other schools under the ECA umbrella include Brightwood Career Institute, Brightwood College, Culinard, Ecotech Institute and the Golf Academy of America.
Here is the full statement from Stu Reed:
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 your schools, and it is with the utmost regret that wwe inform you of this direction.
President & CEO