Displaced Virginia College students seek help from other colleges, groups

Virginia College students prepare to explore other options to finish their education.
Virginia College students prepare to explore other options to finish their education.
Updated: Dec. 12, 2018 at 7:30 PM CST
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MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - With just weeks to go before the spring semester, Virginia College students are still pursuing their available options a week after learning their school will close at the end of term this month. The move impacts the 20,000 students enrolled nationwide, including those at the Montgomery campus and three other campuses in Alabama.

Students were told last week that they could expect information to become available “on or around” Dec. 17. Since then, some students have been able to get copies of their transcripts.

The Alabama Community College System released information stating it has obtained transcripts from Virginia College’s Alabama campuses and is making them available to students for a $10 fee. ACCS' information page states the system is working with Virginia College to monitor transfer credit capabilities, loan forgiveness and teach-out plans. The page advises students to check back to the page for information and updates. ACCS told WSFA 12 News new information will be released Thursday morning.

In the meantime, students have been exploring their options on their own.

Molly Hill, a nursing student who was two quarters from graduating, said she and some of her classmates attended an open house held at Lawson State Community College in Birmingham. The flier for the two open houses indicated the meetings were for Virginia College students who were interested in enrolling in time for spring classes, which start on Jan. 9.

However, Hill said she and her classmates were told what they feared would be the case.

“They told us that our credits most likely won’t transfer and we will have to start over somewhere now,” Hill said.

Hill said they were told to take advantage of any student loan forgiveness opportunities to help students get their money back after many reported their loan funds were disbursed to Virginia College the day before the school announced the closure.

Margaret Sanders, a medical office specialist student who was 200 service hours from her certificate, did not attend the meetings at Lawson State. However, she said she has called a number of schools in Montgomery to find out about her options to transfer.

“I found one school that will take one of my credits,” Sanders said. “Some others found schools that will take two or three, but for me just one. None of them want to take me just for my externship. So, I will have to start over. It will take about a year or two."

Sanders said she hopes to get the loan that was already disbursed forgiven so she can apply it to the classes she will have to take again. Otherwise, she said she will have to take out another loan, with funds from one of the loans not going toward her education.

Both Sanders and Hill said they are holding on to hope after the Alabama Department announced four emergency meetings to help offer resources and students to the more than 1,100 students in Alabama who were impacted. The meeting for Montgomery students will be next Wednesday. You can read more about it here.

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