Virginia College, LLC accreditation suspended threatening 15,000 enrolled students

Virginia College, LLC accreditation suspended threatening 15,000 enrolled students. (Source: WEAR-TV)

Sixty-nine college campuses nationwide- including Pensacola - may soon close.

Three months ago, Virginia College announced plans to close the Pensacola campus next fall, but now it could be sooner.

Channel 3 obtained a letter from the Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools.

It was sent to the CEO at Virginia College on Dec.4.

It confirmed accreditation for all campuses owned and operated by Virginia College, LLC is suspended.

Cosmetology student Patricia Hendricks was hit with the shocking news on Wednesday morning. She said she found out through an email from CEO and college president Stuart Reed,

"We got the word we lost our accreditation and the school is closing. Some will lose hours and some won't be able to graduate," Hendricks said.

Channel 3 reached to Virginia College, but no comment.

The letter laid out some of the reasons behind the Council's decision across multiple areas which included student progress, outcomes, student satisfaction, certification and licensure, and staff turnover.

The letter also outlines concerns of "rapidly deteriorating financial conditions" by ACICS CEO Michelle Edwards.

In the letter, she stated the Council does not believe Virginia College, LLC has the financial stability to meet requirements,

"We were told we have until Friday to make up our hours, then we have to get out. We put all this time and money into something just to have it swept out from under our feet," said Hendricks.

Virginia College, LLC has 10 days to appeal and they must pay a $10,000 fee.

Other campuses owned by Virginia College, LLC include Golf Academy of America and Brightwood College campuses.

These campuses have also lost accreditation through suspension. 15,000 will feel the effects and Hendricks one of them. She said she won't let this destroy her dream.

"I'm never going to give up. This is a dream for all these ladies. Come hell or high water, I'm sure we will all do what we can to graduate," says Hendricks.

In an email sent to students, Reed said the Pensacola campus will close this month.

The full email reads:

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 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

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