Students, employees say Virginia College is closing its Florence campus

The Virginia College Career Center in Florence. (Credit: Matt Parris/WPDE)

Some student and employees said Virginia College is closing its Florence Campus off of David McLeod Boulevard.

One employee said they were notified Wednesday that the college will effectively close Dec. 18.

A couple of students shared the following email from the college about the closing.

“Dear Students,
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 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 our schools, and it with the utmost regret that we inform you of this direction.
Stu Reed,
President & CEO”

Several students said the abrupt closing has hurt their credits and ability to transfer to other schools so they can graduate.

One student said in an email, “There are students set to go on their internship next week and we are all left with no answers. There are students on internship that cannot finish. I take my exam tomorrow and supposed to start my last class next week on Tuesday and my internship would've started in January... We are all left with no answers at all... The school is scheduled to close on December 18th or 21st... We just need answers and they aren't offering any...”

Virginia College released the following statement Wednesday night:

“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 workforce 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.

Students have been instructed to check within the next few weeks for information on how to request a transcript. “

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