UPDATE: Virginia College closing Chattanooga campus
UPDATE: Virginia College is closing in Chattanooga at the end of the current school year. The school, located near Eastgate, stopped enrolling new students as of last Monday.
Aisha Covington has always dreamed of going to college. She was surprised when her teachers said her dreams might be cut short.
“Kind of shocked, but I will be able to finish before they close,” Covington said.
She is one of the 174 students currently enrolled in courses at Virginia College. Students will have until July 1, 2019, to finish their courses, and earn their certificates. After seven years, the school is closing due to low enrollment.
“More of like why? I think it is a great school and a great campus. More financial reasons. There are not enough students,” Alyssa Pickleseimer said.
In some of her classes, Pickleseimer said there are fewer than five students.
“It is a small campus but it gives you a better learning environment," she said. "Sad that it is closing because I think a lot of students needed this campus.”
She'll earn her degree as a medical assistant, but won't be able to continue her education at Virginia College for any additional certifications.
“If I wanted to come back and do something different, that option is not there now because there is not going to be a program that I can start and finish before it closes," she added.
Virginia College is the third for-profit college to close in Chattanooga during the past two years. ITT-Tech and Regency both closed in 2016, making it difficult for Chattanoogans looking for small classes and cheap tuition.
“I tried community college and a university. I was in a class of 300," Pickleseimer said. "The teacher didn't even know I was there. To be in a class of 4-5 people you get better learning, asking questions without feeling like you're judged. So to have a limit of other classes or colleges there are, that hinders what I want to do with the rest of my life and what my bigger plan is.”
A spokesperson for the school tells Channel 3 the school will remain accredited till the end.
Virginia College will continue to operate 11 campuses, including one in Knoxville.
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According to their website, the school near Eastgate stopped enrolling new students as of September 10th.
The 174 students enrolled at the Chattanooga campus will be able to finish their courses this year and most should be able to complete their certifications in the school's programs.
"As always, we continue to focus on helping our students graduate and assisting them with getting jobs in their fields. We are proud of our history, and we look forward to the success of our final class of students," a Virginia College spokesperson said.
All operations are expected to stop by July of next year.