AUSTIN — Virginia College announced Wednesday the closure of its campuses nationwide, angering and confusing students who were under the impression they would be able to complete their programs.
On Tuesday, a review board with the Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools notified the school it would be suspending its accreditation.
In September, according to an email obtained by KVUE, the dean at the Virginia College campus in north Austin notified students ACICS had placed the school on "show cause" due to financial concerns.
"'The school's closing down, but it's not closing right now. It's not going to affect your program. You'll be able to see your program through,'" student Kirstyn Galicia recalled the school telling students.
At the time, the campus president had assured students that campus would remain accredited until its closure in July 2019, according to an email. However, Wednesday morning, students were notified the school would close on Friday.
"We all had to soak it in. 'Hold on. You told us in September we were going to be able to finish. You guys weren't going to close until July,'" student Ashley Cleary said. "Virginia College just took the rug out from everybody right before Christmas. Just swiped us out."
Like many of their classmates, Cleary and Galicia chose to enroll in the roughly $17,000 medical assistant program because it would allow them to enter the field quickly.
Now, they -- and other students -- are left wondering what's going to happen to the tuition they've paid and whether their credits will transfer elsewhere.
"I thought I was going to be able to graduate, get a job, and pay it back, and now, I'm not going to be able to graduate," student Yazmin Esparza said. "I don't know what I'm going to do."
Galicia, Cleary, and Esparza told KVUE they're speaking with representatives with The College of Healthcare Professions who, the students said, have shown interest in helping them out.
"It's our education. It's to better our lives and the lives of our families. And ultimately, that's what we want. We're not going to stop just because of this," Galicia said.
KVUE's Pattrik Perez called the north Austin campus several times Thursday, but no one answered the phone. The college's Facebook and Twitter accounts have been deleted.