Virginia College and Brightwood College Student Believed the Hype and Got Screwed by Education Corporation of America

You know who I feel the sorriest for with the failure of Education Corporation of America (ECA) and their for-profit schools; the instructors and staff.

These are basically good people who believed the hype in the exhaustive marketing the schools put out to attract new students. Even when ECA saw their enrollment declining, marketing costs exploding, and knew they had core broken issues with accreditation and the Department of Education; students and staff were allowed to commit to a path that has not been sustainable for quite some time.

I completely understand why some staff and students feel the government has screwed them over and “forced” the schools to close, leaving them abandoned. This is especially true when ECA led students to believe the students were the victims.

Hell, ECA solicited 400 pages of student statements in just a few days ask the government to not “force” the schools to close. Here is one set of those student statements.

The cause of ECA to fail had more to do with circumstances under their control, and not outside forces.

While it is true that the Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools (ACICS) pulled their accreditation, they did so because the school failed to meet their targets and obligations. ACICS said, “it was suspending accreditation immediately at all the institutions, saying “Given the grave concerns with regards to the ability of Virginia College, LLC, to continue the operations of all the institutions under its ownership as a result of the outstanding, unresolved findings related to the continued show-cause directive and rapidly deteriorating financial conditions, the Council does not believe that the entity will be able to bring its institutions into compliance and demonstrate financial stability within the given timeframes. Therefore, the Council acted to withdraw, by suspension, the current grants of accreditation of all the institutions owned by Virginia College, LLC.” – Source

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Because of the rapidly declining business model and structure at the college, the Department of Education asked for additional financial guarantees that the school could not meet as well.

So another for-profit college bites the dust and takes the students and staff with it. I wish this was an unusual event. It’s not.

If you were a student of an ECA school that is closed, see this post on what to do next.

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Steve Rhode is the Get Out of Debt Guy and has been helping good people with bad debt problems since 1994. You can learn more about Steve, here.
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