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Students stunned by Vista College closure in Longview

Vista College says they closed because of financial circumstances.

LONGVIEW, Texas — Katt Dubose has been studying medical billing and coding at Vista College in Longview since April 2020.

While she knew the college was dealing with money problems, she says she, and everyone else, were caught off guard by the sudden closing. She says she first found out from one of her teachers.  

"Last Tuesday, she said I have some announcements to make," Dubose said. "She said I don't know how to tell you this, but Vista is closing."

The closing is putting both students and teachers, alike, in an uncomfortable situation. This isn't something they were ready for, at least not when it happened.

"At first, I was told that they weren't going to close until all the students had graduated," Dubose said. "Then it changed to where December, where the doors are closing when everybody went off Christmas break. In everybody's mind, we had time to get at least one more class in."

The school's financial struggles weren't a secret. 

Colleges like Kilgore College were already working to help some students transfer; however, they didn't know the school would shut down so suddenly. 

"We had already been working with some of their administrators (Vista College) for cosmetology and their HVAC program to transfer some of those credits over and get those students through that program so that they can come out with a degree," Kilgore College Vice President of Instruction Tracy Skopek said. 

CBS19 obtained the following email sent to Vista College students announcing the abrupt closure:

Vista College Students,

Vista College has made the difficult decision to cease all operations effective with the close of Business on October 8th 2021. Although we are in compliance with both accreditation and state/federal regulations we are unable to continue due to financial circumstances.

We apologize for the sudden notice but due to unforeseen events we could not continue with the new term on Oct 11th nor continue the current nursing term.

We realize the challenges this causes for students and we have been working to identify potential transfer colleges and schools to complete your degrees. Please monitor the Vista College Website, www.vistacollege.eduas we will be posting important information to the website.

We also want to provide you loan discharge criteria with respect to school closures:
You may be eligible for a 100 percent discharge of your William D. Ford Federal Direct Loan (Direct Loan) Program loans, Federal Family Education Loan (FFEL) Program loans, or Federal Perkins Loans if you were unable to complete your program because your school closed, and if
•you were enrolled when your school closed;
•you were on an approved leave of absence when your school closed;
•your school closed within 120 days after you withdrew, if your loans were first disbursed before July 1, 2020; or
•your school closed within 180 days after you withdrew, if your loans were first disbursed on or after July 1, 2020.

You are not eligible for discharge of your loans if your school closes and any of the following is true:
•Except in exceptional circumstances, you withdrew more than 120 days before the school closed, if your loans were first disbursed before July 1, 2020; or
•Except in exceptional circumstances, you withdrew more than 180 days before the school closed, if your loans were first disbursed on or after July 1, 2020.
•You are completing a comparable educational program:
othrough a teach-out,
oby transferring academic credits or hours earned at the closed school to another school, or
oby any other comparable means.
•You completed all the coursework for the program before the school closed, even if you did not receive a diploma or certificate.

For more information on Federal loan discharge, go to:
https://studentaid.gov/manage-loans/forgiveness-cancellation/closed-school
https://studentaid.gov/announcements-events/closed-school