COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) - Education Corporation of America, a parent company that owns campuses across the country including Virginia College in Columbus, has announced operations will discontinue at a large number of their campuses in December of 2018.
Twenty-six of the company’s campuses, including Virginia College in Columbus, are set to close.
Students in Columbus are stunned by the unexpected news.
“I moved me and my three kids here to go to school and better myself for them, to just take it all away. I need answers. I need compensation. I need something," said one student Wednesday morning.
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.
Education Corporation of America campuses include Brightwood College, Brightwood Career Institute, Ecotech Institute, Golf Academy of America and Virginia College.
Virginia College in Columbus announced earlier this year that they would no longer be accepting new students after Sept. 10, 2018.
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,” said company spokeswoman Dianne Worthington, in a written statement to Higher Education.
Education Corporation of America’s website says on or around Dec. 17, they will begin loading information on the transcript request process, recommendations on where to transfer, contact lists and a general Q&A.
The Columbus campus is located at 5601 Veterans Pkwy.
This is a developing story. Keep with News Leader 9 for the latest updates.