Brightwood College abruptly shuts down all locations

Brightwood College abruptly shuts down all locations

TOWSON, Md. (WBFF) - Brightwood College, with campuses in Towson and Baltimore, is abruptly closing all locations after financial issues.

On Thursday, students were on the verge of tears as they left the Towson campus.

Meleigha McCall is a medical assistant student. She said: “I was going to do my [internship] in February. Now I have to do an extra 5 to 7 months, somewhere, if I have the money."

It’s a feeling of total loss for Deaira Hall.

“You come this far just to be sent to another school. I made it through a lot of obstacles to get to where I’m at, and now I’ve got to start all over again.”

Crews spent the day removing printers and other equipment from the campus.

Meanwhile, Army Veteran Rosalyn Ruffin-Moore is left searching for answers. She says she has no other options for funding.

“These programs cost $32,000, so I have spent $64,000 here only to be tossed out within two days because we got a notification at 5 p.m. on Wednesday to tell us school was closed.”

The Towson location will officially close on Friday, December 7.

The Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools suspended Education Corp. of America’s (ECA) accreditation on Dec. 4.

The company is one of the nation's largest for-profit colleges, serving at least 20,000 students, Inside Higher Ed reports.

In October, the company reported nearly $50 million in debt to unsecured creditors.

Ruffin-Moore says they should have given students and staff more notice.

“What are we supposed to do? No one’s getting severance pay, no one’s getting FAFSA, no one’s getting funding back. We’re all just numb. We have no resolution, no one put anything in play. They just dropped the ball.”

If you were a student affected by this closure, you’re asked to contact the Maryland Higher Education Commission to speak with them about loan forgiveness. You can also find answers at the Federal Student Aid loan forgiveness website.

Attorney General Brian Frosh released a statement on Thursday, saying: “The closure of Brightwood College’s three Maryland campuses is distressing and saddening because of the harmful effect this has on hundreds of Maryland students. The continuing harm to students of for-profit colleges shows the need for the U.S. Department of Education to change course and start protecting students.”

The following statement was released from Frosh’s office on Thursday: "Students who are currently attending Brightwood College or withdrew within 120 days of the closure should be aware of their options.

1.Students may be eligible for cancellation of federal student loans used to attend Brightwood College, with any amounts already paid on those loans reimbursed to them. This relief, called a “Closed School Discharge,” is available to students who are actively enrolled at a school when it closes, or who withdrew up to 120 days before the school closed and did not complete their program of study elsewhere. If students wish to obtain a Closed School Discharge, they should be aware that they would not be able to transfer their credits in order to finish their degrees at another school (see #2, below). Students should carefully consider their options and personal finances before transferring their credits or applying for a Closed School Discharge. For some people, having their loans discharged may be preferable to continuing their programs of study elsewhere while remaining obligated to repay the student loan debt accrued at Brightwood College. Students whose loans are discharged have the option of pursuing a new degree at another institution, some of which are less expensive, such as state schools or community colleges. The Maryland Higher Education Commission will have more information about how to apply for a Closed School Discharge on its website.

2.Students may be eligible to transfer their credits to another school and finish their degree or certificate program. Students who transfer are not eligible for the Closed School Discharge and would have to pay for any additional courses required by the new school to complete the program. Students may contact schools directly to see if the school will accept credits earned at Brightwood College, or they may check with the Maryland Higher Education Commission, which is in the process of determining whether any schools in Maryland will accept transfer credits from students who attended Brightwood College.

3.Students may be eligible for reimbursement of money other than federal loans or grants that they paid to Brightwood College for tuition and other expenses. The Maryland Higher Education Commission will have more information about how to apply for these refunds on its website."

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