Brightwood College, a for-profit chain with campuses around the country, including Charlotte, is no longer accepting student applications. The school’s parent company, Education Corporation of America (ECA) made the abrupt announcement Wednesday, with a posting on its website.
The Charlotte campus, located on Independence Boulevard, was formerly part of the Kaplan College chain, which was acquired by ECA. Enrollment has been declining at schools in the chain in recent years, and ECA has had financial struggles.
In the past two years, five other for-profit schools closed their doors without much warning to students or staff. They include Charlotte School of Law, Regency Beauty Institute, the Art Institute of Charlotte, ITT Technical Institute and Kings College.
For-profit schools began closing their doors as federal authorities under the Obama Administration clamped down on them in terms of the quality of their programs, graduation rates and employment results for graduates.
According to an Inside Higher Ed article, employees received an email from ECA’s CEO, Stu Reed. Wednesday morning that informed them all campuses are closing. It came a day after Brightwood's accreditation was suspended by the Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools. That organization has also received criticism from federal officials and others for allowing what some consider questionable for-profits schools to maintain their accreditation.
Inside Higher Ed reported that current courses that wrap up at ECA schools in the next two weeks will continue. The online publication quoted ECA’s spokesperson Diane Worthington as stating that, “We will work with students to ensure access to their transcripts so they can complete their studies at another school.”