For-Profit College Closes Abruptly Leaving Local Students Without Diploma

For-Profit College Closes Abruptly Leaving Local Students Without Diploma

Max Rodriguez

A major for-profit school corporation is closing the doors of its campuses across the country, including a campus in Palm Springs, a move impacting hundreds of local students.

A handful of Brightwood College students were in complete shock Wednesday morning when they found out that day would be the last day of classes in the campus, permanently.

Celina Chaidez is one of the students who feel the closure is unjust, especially since she is just one day away from finishing the class portion of her program.

Chaidez said, “Everything was normal we turned in an assignment and then the director of the program actually came in and told us she had news and that’s when she dropped the bomb.”

From one day to the next, students no longer had a class to attend nor a diploma in the near future.

Luzmarina Perez is a student who is about a month from finishing a nine-month medical assistant program. Perez said, “I am coming from the Imperial Valley every day for nine months, gas money and our loans that we got out.”

Perez said there was no mention of a refund for students who paid out of pocket, while loans and federal aid may remain if students successfully enroll at another school.

Earlier this year, the students signed a letter from the Brightwood College, it said it would close its doors in July of next year.

Perez said, “That they were going to help us out and we were going to finish until then and today…no.”

The students of the Palm Springs campus of Brightwood College were not the only ones who left without a diploma. Multiple reports from all over the nation show schools owned by parent company, Education Corporation of America, are also shutting abruptly.

The CEO and President of Brightwood College, Stu Reed, through a statement, said, “The Department of Education added requirements that made operating our schools more challenging.”

He said Brightwood College also got its accreditation suspended by the Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools, making it difficult to acquire capital to remain open.

Still, it is a tough pill to swallow for students who were weeks or even days from finishing the program.

Charles Rhoden and many of his classmates are now searching for a college that will take a transfer.

Rhoden said, “We are all slated to get certification on the first week of January and as of now we are possibly looking at starting the program over.”

The CEO of Brightwood College said students will receive credit for the courses they have completed, the school will officially shut its doors on Friday.