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For-profit college chain with three Maryland campuses closes without warning

AP PHOTO

A for-profit college chain known as Brightwood College, previously known as Kaplan College, made a sudden announcement on Wednesday that it was shuttering all of its campuses nationwide.

Brightwood made the announcement after their accreditation was revoked by the Department of Education. The company operated under names including Virginia College, Brightwood College, Brightwood Career Institute, Ecotech Institute and Golf Academy of America.

“We’re all shocked. It’s still shocking now," said Johana Fuentes, a student at the Beltsville campus. “They tell you when you enroll, hey you know, you’re about to get this future that you want, it’s an easy road. And then the next thing you know, it just all gets shut down."

Fuentes was studying to be a medical assistant.

The chain had three Maryland campuses -- in Towson, Beltsville, and Baltimore. Brian Frosh, Maryland's Attorney General, released a statement Thursday expressing dismay at the decision.

“The closure of Brightwood College’s three Maryland campuses is distressing and saddening because of the harmful effect this has on hundreds of Maryland students," Frosh said. "The continuing harm to students of for-profit colleges shows the need for the U.S. Department of Education to change course and start protecting students.”

If you're a current Brightwood student, or withdrew within 120 days of the closure, you have options, says the Maryland Higher Education Commission:

1. Pursue a federal loan discharge and state refund of self-paid or private lender money paid to the school.

2. Pursue a transfer opportunity at a state-approved teach-out school.

3. Pursue a self-chosen/determined transfer to another school (subject to all transfer policies of the accepting school).

More information is available on the commission's website.

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