For-profit college closes operations, surprising students

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HAMMOND, Ind. —One of the nation's largest for-profit college chains is shutting down after falling into deep financial trouble.

The Alabama-based Education Corporation of America announced on its website Wednesday that all of its campuses are being "discontinued" immediately. Calls to the company were not returned.

The company enrolled about 20,000 students across more than 70 campuses, including the Virginia College and Brightwood College chains.

In legal documents from October, the company said declining student enrollment had left it unable to make payments on its debt and rental fees. It faced eviction at several campuses.

But the U.S. Education Department criticized the sudden closure, saying the chain had options to help students find other schools before shutting down.

Students are shocked.

"In June I would have graduated," said Giselle Hernandez.  "Now it's just blank for me."

The company's website says it will provide more information to students on Dec. 17.


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