AG Shapiro provides answers to students jilted by abrupt closure of Brighton Career Institute
State Attorney General Josh Shapiro on Wednesday offered guidance and resources to students jilted by last month’s abrupt shuttering of Brightwood Career Institute in Downtown Pittsburgh and related vocational campuses across Pennsylvania.
“The sudden closing of Brightwood schools left many students across the Commonwealth unsure of their academic status and the investment they made in their future,” Shapiro said in a statement. “My office has been working closely with the Pennsylvania Department of Education to help students and their families get answers to questions, and get back on track to complete programs and move on with their lives.”
More than 1,500 students were enrolled at Brightwood-owned campuses in Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, Harrisburg and Broomall when the private educational system halted all classes in December.
Among answers Shapiro provided for students unsure of what the closure means for them:
- Students enrolled at the time of the closure will receive a transcript with grades for classes they attended;
- Students who were enrolled in the final class needed to complete a program will receive completion credit; and
- Students may be able to have their federally backed loans discharged.
Brightwood closed its campuses across Pennsylvania in early December, after initially announcing they would remain open through this coming September.
Classes spanned health care and information technology programs and other vocational skills across Brightwood College, Brightwood Career Institute, Virginia College, Golf Academy of America and Ecotech Institute.
Brightwood Career Institute, at 933 Penn Ave. in Downtown Pittsburgh — which enrolled about 500 students in 2016 — had said as recently as this past fall that it would stop accepting new enrollees but planned to see its senior class of students through to graduation.
School officials cited insufficient enrollment and demand for trade skills.
Parent company, The Education Corp. of America, is deeply in debt and unable to make payments. It owes $66 million and is facing evictions at several of its 26 campuses.
In a statement last month, CEO Stuart Reed said, “It is with extreme regret that the recent series of circumstances have forced us to discontinue the operations of our school.”
Other schools are stepping up to help students, including state-owned community colleges.
Elizabeth A. Bolden, president and CEO for the Pennsylvania Commission for Community Colleges, has said that “all Pennsylvania community colleges are ready to assist students whose education is unfortunately disrupted by such closures.”
Natasha Lindstrom is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Natasha at 412-380-8514, [email protected] or via Twitter @NewsNatasha.
Natasha Lindstrom is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Natasha at 412-380-8514, [email protected] or via Twitter .