Brightwood College announces permanent closure, including Indianapolis campus

Brightwood College Closing Campuses
Brightwood closing

INDIANAPOLIS (WTHR) - For the second time in recent months, another vocational college is closing its Indiana campuses.

Harrison College closed in September. Brightwood College told students and employees Wednesday morning that the school is closing.

Seventy campuses across the country are closing their classrooms, including the Indianapolis campus in the Southern Plaza shopping center.

"My heart breaks for everybody," said Kristen Hawkins, who has finished the Brightwood College practical nursing program but is waiting for her diploma. "You come to school and you try to better your life for your family. Most of us have children. We have responsibilities. We come here to try to better our lives and now we got pushed back down, especially the people who are so close to finishing. You can taste it. You there and now you have to go someplace else and start all over. It should be criminal. It really should be."

Students in the accelerated nursing program invested $27,000 in the 14-month diploma but are 10 weeks short of completion.

"Where are we going to go?" asked Brightwood College nursing student Dee Ehrhardt. "The only answer they could tell us is, 'We don't know. We don't know.' How are we going to get our education? We want to be nurses. God only knows we need nurses."

450 students training to be nurses, medical and dental assistants and electricians don't know if their credits will transfer to another school. Ninety-five employees, 45 full-time, lost their jobs because the Brightwood College is losing its accreditation.

"We were told by higher ups that we were doing good," said Mark Ellis, who worked in admissions since 2008. "So, none of us would have expected this. It still hasn't sunk in."

"The same thing happened to me at Brown Mackie College a couple of years ago," said Kathy Curry, who also worked in admissions. "Came in, business as usual. At least that time it was on a Friday. And at least that time it was in the summer, not a few weeks before Christmas. It's heart wrenching."

Most employees cleaned out their desks today. They will have no insurance after Friday. Brightwood College holds its final classes at the Indianapolis campus Friday.

Brown Mackie College closed nationwide more than a year ago. Months earlier, the University of Phoenix and American National University closed their Indianapolis campuses. Medtech College and ITT Tech shut down in 2016. In 2015, DeVry closed its campus in Indianapolis.

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