Students’ future uncertain after Virginia College shuts down

Austin

AUSTIN (KXAN) — Many students just one step away from completing their programs are now suddenly stopped in their tracks, and they don’t know what’s happening to all the time and money they’ve put into their education. 

Virginia College in Austin told its students today “It is with extreme regret that this series of recent circumstances has forced us to discontinue the operations of our schools.”

Virginia College is one of many for-profit schools owned by a company called Education Corporation of America that are shutting down. 

“I was heartbroken,” one student said. “All of the time that has been lost, that was super heartbreaking.”

According to the Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools, Virginia College has been warned multiple times about losing its accreditation.

Beginning in September, the ACICS said it expressed various new concerns every month, including problems with employer satisfaction, student progress and the college’s financial status.

The organization ultimately decided to pull Virginia College’s accreditation. 

In an email to KXAN, the ACICS said Virginia College must submit “transfer agreements” by December 19thm showing students can complete their programs somewhere else. 

Many students we talked to, however, said they’ve gotten little to no answers about their credits.

“I just want some answers. [The] school is not giving us answers. Not telling us what’s next. Are my credits going to transfer?” asked Tania Acevedo.

Acevedo told us she’s just 200 hours of externship away from becoming a medical assistant.

She’s a mother of five children who has been working full-time while attending classes.

“I’m just very upset,” she said. “I took so much time away from my kids. Driving at 4 o’clock in the morning, be at work [at] 6 o’clock in the morning, and then get out at 5 p.m Drive all the way from my job to over here to start at 5:30. And then get out at 10:45 p.m.”

Acevedo believes she’ll still have to pay back her loans.

“I’m still in shock. Still can’t believe this is happening,” she said.

Another student who was also just one externship away from completing her program said, “I was devastated. I mean, I was an emotional wreck as well as everyone else in the program.”

Ashleigh Shanks said, “I’m definitely going to do everything I can, everything in my power to be able to continue with this and finish.”

Virginia College and the Education Corporation of America have not returned our calls.

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