• Charlotte's Brightwood College goes out of business

    By: Jason Stoogenke

    Updated:

    CHARLOTTE, N.C. - Brightwood College, on Independence Boulevard, closed its doors for good Wednesday.

    Multiple instructors say all Brightwood campuses are closing nationally.

    Action 9 was told more than 300 students were learning to become medical assistants, dental assistants, pharmacy technicians or electrical technicians.

    [Some call for tighter controls on for-profit colleges]

    The company that owns Brightwood, Education Corporation of America, didn't respond to an Action 9 email in time for the report.

    [LINK: About Federal Government forgiving loans for closed schools]

    Students and teachers were surprised, and some were in tears.

    "That broke my heart because a lot of girls, like classmates that I'm with, like, I'm sorry, are here you know to further their education. Just to get the news that you can't continue," student Maria Gonzalez said.  "I have to further my education for myself, for my family, you know."

    "What type of school does that to their students?  We all try to do something with our lives.  We try to be successful," another student said.

    Wendy Flores said Brightwood is the fourth for-profit school she's worked at that has gone out of business. 

    "I've been working here for four years. I feel really bad," Flores said.

    "I was calling my boyfriend and everything, and I've been calling all over, just to find a school to go to,” said a woman who was about to enroll in the school. “Now, I'm just like with no option. I was really excited, as you can see. So now, it's like a loss for me.”

    Action 9 has covered other schools that closed, and each case is different.

    However, there are basically two main concerns in these cases: students want to finish their education and they already paid good money. 

    [LINK: Federal FAQs about school closings]

    Students may be able to transfer to other schools.

    Usually, some similar ones come forward and offer to accept their credits.

    As far as money goes, the federal government may forgive their loans.

    Brightwood College is in the same location where Kaplan College used to be. 

    Kaplan was one of the first for-profit schools Channel 9 investigated. 

    Its dental assisting program was not accredited, so students who graduated weren’t qualified for jobs.  Channel 9's investigation led to fines for the school and refunds for many of the students.

    Brightwood College's statement:
    "After many years of training students for new careers, it is with a heavy heart that today we announce that Education Corporation of America (ECA) is closing all its career colleges effective with the completion of the current module or term for most students.  We will work with students to ensure access to their transcripts so they can complete their studies at another school.   We are proud of our thousands of graduates who have entered the workforce with skills they acquired at our schools along with our faculty and staff who have shown unwavering support for our students.  This is not the outcome that we envisioned and is one that we recognize will have a dramatic effect on our students, employees, and many partners."  

    Keep checking here within the next few weeks for information on how to request a transcript. 

    Steve McClearn is handling the wind-down and can be reached here

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