Virginia College Closes In Pensacola - And Everywhere Else

Dec 6, 2018

The lobby of Virginia College in Pensacola Thursday morning.
Credit Bob Barrett, WUWF

The Pensacola campus of Virginia College will permanently close in the next two weeks. Students were informed of the closing in an email from the for-profit college’s corporate owner Wednesday morning. The Education Corporation of America, a company based in Birmingham, Alabama, operates Virginia College, as well as Brightwood College, Culinard Culinary Institute, Ecotech Institute and the Golf Academy of America. All locations of all those institutions are closing immediately.

A representative of the Pensacola location would not give a recorded interview, but says the school will close by December 18, allowing at least some students to complete their programs. Thursday morning, the building on 9 Mile Road was practically empty, with staff moving some equipment out of the building.

Earlier this year, Virginia College announced it was closing the Pensacola location effective in October of 2019, but CEO and College President Stuart Reed’s email stated the suspension of the school’s accreditation by the Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools resulted in “an inability to acquire additional capital to operate our schools.” 

The Virgina College in Pensacola will close Dec. 18.
Credit Bob Barrett, WUWF

Here is the full text of the email:

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 [SIC].

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 www.ecacolleges.com 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 [SIC] with the utmost regret that we inform you of this direction.

Stu Reed,

President & CEO