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State schools offering help to former Virginia College students

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Several state colleges, including Midlands Technical College, are offering help to former students at Virginia College after the for-profit campuses of parent company Education Corp. of America abruptly closed.

The Birmingham, Ala.-based company, which operates Virginia College LLC as well as Brightwood College, Brightwood Career Institute, Ecotech Institute and Myrtle Beach-based Golf Academy of America, lost its accreditation and funding, according to multiple published reports and a statement on its website.

The statement, which announced that operations were being discontinued this month, said that information on requesting transcripts and other questions would be posted beginning Dec. 17.

Virginia College's Columbia campus was located at 7201 Two Notch Road. That campus' wesbite said it stopped enrolling new students in September. The college also operated campuses in North Charleston, Greenville, Spartanburg and Florence. 

Benedict College will hold an informational session today from noon until 3 p.m. at the Gressette Building at the corner of Taylor and Oak streets for former Virginia College students, while Greenville Technical College will hold a free open house today. The open house will begin with a walking tour at 9:30 a.m. and include an informational session at 11 a.m.

On Dec. 19, Midlands Tech is playing host to a college night event for former Virginia College students. The event, to be held from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the college’s Beltline campus, will provide academic and financial aid information and waive MTC’s $35 application fee.

The Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools suspended ECA’s accreditation on Dec. 4 because of ongoing concerns about educational outcomes for the approximately 15,000 students enrolled in all Virginia College campuses, the council said. The organization said the action followed show-cause directives issued on May 8 and Sept. 5 regarding concerns about institutional management, communications, curriculum review and revision, construction oversight and employer satisfaction.

“While the institution took steps to address these areas of concern, the council has since found additional areas of concern across various campuses, including student progress, outcomes, student satisfaction, certification and licensure, and staff turnover,” the organization said on its website. “Additionally, the council determined that Virginia College is unlikely to be able to continue operations and meet its financial obligations based on its current financial status.”

The council said it would require Virginia College to submit evidence of completion of programs for students scheduled to graduate in December and of executed transfer agreements for students still enrolled after December no later than Dec. 19.

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