Hundreds of local college students are very distraught tonight after Virginia College announced today it's closing its doors for good.
In fact, Education Corporation of America (ECA), the owners of Virginia College, is closing all of its campuses nationwide. More than 20,000 students are currently enrolled, including some at Virginia College Mobile.
The students say they got the news this morning about the abrupt closure this morning. According to the email, they will finish this module or term off with their last day being Friday.
"This is an emotional situation for everybody," said Angel Maye, who's a student there.
Sharon Pollard's niece goes to the school. Her neice was too distraught to go on camera but says she was only months away from getting her diploma.
"Outraged. I'm upset. I have a niece who is actually a single parent who is trying to better her life," said Pollard.
Many of the students and employees are frustrated, but confused about it all. They say they were blindsided by this almost immediate closing. They left yesterday, thinking everything was normal, but some of them came back to a chaotic scene this morning," Pollard explained.
"When she came into school today, everything had changed. There were no teachers, the whole school had closed down with no answers.
"When we got here a lot of individuals were in the school crying, cursing, yelling at the dean of nursing because of the current situation that happened. So with that being said, a bunch of teachers just packed up their stuff and left," said Elexis Miller, a student at the college.
The email students and employees received states that recently the Department of Education made running the school more challenging and they simply couldn't get the money to continue operating. The email also says the school lost it's accreditation last night.
ECA has more than 75 campuses across the country and enrolls more than 20 thousand students. In a statement released to Inside Higher Ed, the companies spokesperson Diane Worthington said in part,
"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."
Back in September, the college announced it would be closing its doors in Mobile next year.
"Now everything's just up in the air as to are her credits going to transfer, what's going to happen with the money situation," Pollard said.
Some of them are just a few months shy of graduation. They say they don't know where they'll go from here.
"It's a lot, it's taking a big toll on a lot of people. This is ridiculous. All we need is some resources. Let us know something," added Maye. "This is ridiculous. What are we supposed to do?"
The college says a skeleton crew of employees will remain on campuses to make sure students can get their transcripts.