For-profit college closes operations, surprising students

A troubled chain of for-profit colleges has closed abruptly in dozens of locations nationwide, after its accrediting agency suspended approval.

Birmingham, Alabama-based Education Corp. of America on Wednesday closed schools operating as Virginia College, Brightwood College, Brightwood Career Institute, Ecotech Institute and Golf Academy of America.

The company in October said it owed $46.8 million to unsecured creditors, asking a judge to keep landlords from kicking it out of locations.

ECA earlier announced it was closing some locations once students completed classes, but said it would continue others.

Project on Predatory Student Lending Director Toby Merrill says students can ask the U.S. Department of Education to cancel loans if a school closes.

The company website says information about transcripts and recommendations about transfers will be available starting about Dec. 17.

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