• Lawmaker says students' loans and GI Bills could be salvaged following closure of Virginia College

    By: Lorena Inclan , Action News Jax

    Updated:

    Student left in limbo following the abrupt closure of Virginia College could get some relief.

    That’s good news for Freshia Hoffman who recently started her culinary education at the school. Her husband, who is a retired service member, also attends Virginia College.

    Original Story: Virginia College to shut down all campuses, including Jacksonville’s

    “I loved my classes I loved my chef,” said Hoffman. “It was a total shock to me and a total shock to the students that are here.”

    Action News Jax reached out to Congressman John Rutherford who sent us this statement: 

    “I am disappointed to learn of the closing of a Virginia College branch in Jacksonville, which will negatively impact both students and staff. In Congress, we recently passed reforms to ensure students who are unable to transfer credits are not left footing the bill for an education they did not receive due to a school closure. Those on the GI bill will have their benefits restored, Pell Grant recipients will have their status readjusted, and students with federal loans may be able to have them discharged. Any student who is experiencing difficulty receiving proper repayment is encouraged to contact my Jacksonville office at 904-831-5205.” 

    We also reached out to Congressman Al Lawson and Sen. Marco Rubio. 

    "My district office is closely monitoring the fallout from the abrupt closure of Virginia College to help lessen the impact on local students.  It is unfortunate that students attempting to get an education are faced with this disruption right before the holidays, in addition to having to deal with determining whether their credits are transferable and the mounting student loan debt they have incurred,” said Lawson.

    While Rubio’s office said, “We're reaching out to the Department of Education to get more details on the scope and scale of the amount of loans taken out and to see how best we can help anyone affected.”

    The Jacksonville campus will remain open for another two weeks. Some students say, at times, the campus feels like a ghost town.

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    Hoffman said she plans on finishing up her semester at Virginia College but she feels for her classmates who were about to graduate.

    “I think they need to put into consideration the amount of time that people have put into this,” said Hoffman.

    She's already reached out to FSCJ to potentially transfer her credits and continue her culinary education.

    “I'm going to finish what I started because I’m not done,” said Hoffman. 

    Action News Jax reached out Education Corporation of America, the parent company of Virginia College, but we have not heard back yet.

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