For-Profit College Giant Closes

By Free Radical

Virginia College is one of many colleges under the ECA umbrella that will be shut down.

Virginia College is one of many colleges under the ECA umbrella that will be shut down.

Known for its well-produced, glossy commercials promising a bright future to students, for-profit college corporation Education Corporation of America (ECA) abruptly closed all of its campuses this week.

The company owns a number of for-profit institutions of higher education, most notably Virginia College. It also owns Brightwood College, Brightwood Career Institute, Ecotech Institute and Golf Academy of America.

The Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools suspended ECA’S accreditation on December 4.

ECA has been mired in financial trouble recently. In October, the company reported nearly $50 million in debt to unsecured creditors.

In a letter to campus employees, the CEO of ECA, Stu Reed, reported that regulations from the Department of Education made acquiring funds more challenging. The loss of accreditation would have also likely hampered students’ ability to acquire financial aid to attend the company’s chain of institutions.

For-profit colleges such as those run by ECA have been accused of preying on people of color and poorer individuals by promising top notch education programs and easy job placement after graduation. Many of the institutions have failed to deliver on these promises. After facing tougher scrutiny under the Obama administration, President Donald Trump’s Education Secretary Betsy Devos has shown support in loosening regulations.

Individuals who have school loans from colleges that have closed can appeal to the Department of Education to have them forgiven.

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