Virginia College issues statement on Mississippi lawsuit

For-profit Virginia College has asked a Hinds County judge to dismiss a lawsuit filed by 14 people who allege they participated in a pilot program at the college's Jackson, Miss., campus to become licensed practical nurses only to find out the program was never accredited by the state.

The Clarion-Ledger reports ( ) that the Birmingham, Ala.-based company argues in court documents that the students had signed an agreement allowing a third party to settle disputes when they enrolled in the program. It wants a judge to throw out their lawsuit and send the case to arbitration.

Don Keith Senior VP of Marketing Communications for Education Corporation of America issued the following statement:

"All programs at Virginia College—in Jackson, Mississippi, as well as here in Montgomery—are accredited by ACICS, which is recognized by the U.S. Department of Education.  We do not comment on any pending litigation, such as that in Mississippi, but I can say that we are continuing to follow the prescribed process for earning full accreditation for our nursing program there as well as in other states where we offer nursing.  It is important to note that we have just received initial accreditation from the state for our practical nursing program in Jackson, Mississippi.  The process is a bit different there but we continue to follow it precisely.  At the same time, we have kept all students in the program informed.  We are also doing everything possible there to assure that all graduates will be able to sit for the exam and begin their nursing careers."

A judge has not ruled on the motion. The students signed the arbitration agreements, their attorneys say, because they didn't think they would be defrauded. Only graduates from accredited institutions can take the exam.

Copyright 2011 WSFA 12 News. All rights reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this article.