Virginia College closes due to loss of accreditation

Virginia College closes due to loss of accreditation
Virginia College has closed due to a loss of accreditation from the Accrediting Council for Independent College and Schools. (Source: NBC12)

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - It was an emotional day for many students and faculty in the Richmond area as they learned Virginia College will close its doors.

“For the most part everyone is kind of numb,” Student Tanner Jones said.

Shocked and trying to figure out what’s next, the news of Virginia College shutting down caught many people off guard.

“It’s sh****," Elise Melendez said.

Cosmetology students Elise Melendez and Gracie Gray are not holding back feelings.

“You put a lot into it. A lot of money a lot of time. Especially time is the most important,” Gracie Gray said.

“You grow relationships with teachers, you bond with the other students and the teachers that put so much time into everything. They are jobless,” Melendez said.

The CEO and president of the school says the schools accreditation was suspended which affected the schools ability to get money to keep the school running.

“No school has the real need to take our credits, so our credits might just be gone and we have to start over again," Tanner Jones said.

Tanner Jones was set to finish in April of next year, now he doesn’t know what’s next.

“As far as a student, it pretty much blindsided all of us," Mary Mustian said.

Mustian is studying to be a medical biller and coder and has spent $6,000 already.

“I didn’t get an email. I don’t know why. I actually found out through a group chat,” Shaquilla Byars said.

There are three friends who are all cosmetology students and they said they only had a couple of months left.

“It was so much time. It’s been almost a year since we have been in this program now, and now it feels like it was all wasted," Cherelle Taylor said.

After hearing the news, officials at Centura College is offering a helping hand after noticing several programs match up.

“We do want to offer these Virginia College students a tuition credit. For example if they took 10 credits at Virginia College and only 7 transfer. We will give them tuition credit," Executive Director at Centura College Robert Jones said.

Though the day was rough, these students aren’t giving up.

“I just hope for the best for all the students and all the instructors," Byars said.

Officials with Centura College encourage students to look at their program and have counselors who will look at transcripts.

The full message can be read below:

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

*Education Corporation of America owns and operates Brightwood College, Brightwood Career Institute, Golf Academy of America, Ecotech Institute and Virginia College.

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