EL PASO, Texas – Vista College, a private, for-profit business school with campuses in El Paso and Las Cruces, abruptly closed its doors Friday, citing financial problems.
“While we are in compliance with both accreditation and state / federal regulations, we are unable to proceed for financial reasons,” the college said in a message to students announcing the closure. A copy of this was obtained from ABC-7. On the main school campus in El Paso, the doors were locked and efforts to reach the administrators for comment have been unsuccessful.
Students said they were taken by surprise by the sudden closure of the college and received no prior warning about the financial concerns raised by the school.
“It’s devastating. It’s frustrating,” said Alexis Tiffany Silva, wiping the tears from her eyes. The Las Cruces student and single mother had 22 weeks left to earn her licensed practical nurse certification. “We all have families, we have a life, we have children… We have sick children. We’re in, you know, trying to do better for ourselves and … it’s frustrating, “she said.
According to an online profile created by US News & World Report, Vista College in El Paso has approximately 3,500 students enrolled and offers associate degrees in eight different careers including healthcare, construction, business and technology. Annual tuition and fees are an estimated $ 15,680, but some degrees like Business Administration Associate can cost nearly $ 40,000, according to the school’s catalog.
“We are working diligently to help our students move to other colleges and schools so they can complete their degrees,” said the Vista College message that was sent to the students, but it did not include any guidance to support them should follow for either transcripts or refunds.
Ben Arriola, President and CEO of Southwest University, told ABC-7 that his institution will make every effort to work with Vista College students and is currently reviewing transcripts to ensure credits for courses in nursing, Allied Health and business management could be transferred. Vista students can contact Southwest University by calling 915-778-4001 or going online at southwestuniversity.edu.
Vista College showed potential signs of trouble when it suspended personal enrollment and ran a round of layoffs in August. KBTX-TV at College Station reported that college staff were on leave on all campuses in Texas, including locations in Borderland, Beaumont, Longview and Killeen.
“The reason is that we have all the financial resources to ensure that the students currently enrolled at the school get exactly what they paid for,” said Jim Tolbert, President and CEO of Vista College who is not from El Paso. originates, said KBTX at the time.
In addition, Vista College was one of 70 private colleges just this week that the Federal Trade Commission announced it would crack down on false promises regarding job and earnings prospects for prospective graduates.