BIRMINGHAM, AL (WBRC) -Education Corporation of America is the company that owns Virginia College. Now its 20,000 students are now scrambling to try to figure out what they’re going to do next.
Shaquitta Henderson luckily graduated from Virginia College last month.
“I came here today to pick up my diploma, get my transcript and everything before everybody was gone,” says Henderson.
She heard the school was closing from her program director. She hoped to become a pharmacy tech soon, setting an example for her two young daughters.
“To let them know that a higher education is important,” says Henderson.
In a letter from the college President and CEO, Stu Reed told students:
“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.”
They school was in the midst of restructuring the Education Corporation of America and needed that additional capital. Now Henderson isn’t sure if anyone will recognize the diploma she worked so hard to get.
“Words can’t explain how I feel. I’m trying to keep a positive attitude. Hopefully I can make something out of this. You know at least I did get a chance to finish.”
Employees will be on campus for a few days to help students collect their transcripts. They’ve also been instructed through email how to request their transcripts. The school says they hope students will continue their career training.
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.
“After many years of training students for new careers, it is with a heavy heart that today we announce that Education Corporation of America (ECA) is closing all its career colleges effective with the completion of the current module or term for most students. 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,” Dianne Worthington, a spokeswoman for the company said in a written statement to Higher Education.