Dec. 7, 2018— Education Corp. of America this week announced it will cease operations, leaving more than 20,000 students who were enrolled in its cosmetology, culinary arts, and medical and dental assistant programs at Virginia College and Brightwood Career Institute without a degree or certificate to show for their work. Compounding the stress brought on by the sudden closure is the fact that students who took out loans to help pay for their education likely don't know what to do or where to turn for guidance now that their school, and consequently their school's financial aid office, has closed.
The Department of Education has provided some guidance for displaced students, many of whom may qualify for federal loan discharge based on borrower defense to repayment, but a large gap in financial aid knowledge remains for this population. The National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators (NASFAA), with the help of generous grant funding and a group of dedicated member volunteers from financial aid offices around the country, has been working for the last several years to assist students in determining their eligibility for federal loan discharge and navigating the process of applying for loan discharge. As part of this ongoing grant-funded initiative, NASFAA maintains NextStepsEd—an online ticketing portal where affected students can submit requests for help with financial aid questions—which to date has assisted more than 5,000 students.
"Sudden campus closures can leave students unsure of their next move, and that's made all the more complex when students have taken out loans to help pay their tuition and fees," said NASFAA President Justin Draeger. "NextStepsEd was developed to assist these students, using our grassroots experts from around the country, in their time of need and to examine how best to improve processes going forward."
To request an interview with a NASFAA spokesperson about this grant initiative, email [email protected].
The National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators (NASFAA) is a nonprofit membership organization that represents more than 20,000 financial aid professionals at nearly 3,000 colleges, universities, and career schools across the country. NASFAA member institutions serve nine out of every ten undergraduates in the United States. Based in Washington, D.C., NASFAA is the only national association with a primary focus on student aid legislation, regulatory analysis, and training for financial aid administrators. For more information, visit www.nasfaa.org.
Publication Date: 12/7/2018