Information for Students Who Attended: Virginia College ... Virginia College, Brightwood College,

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    Project on Predatory Student Lending · March 2019

    Information for Students Who Attended: Virginia College, Brightwood College, Brightwood Career Institute, Ecotech

    Institute, Golf Academy of America, and New England College of Business

    Please note that the following is informational and educational material only. It does not constitute legal advice nor is it tailored to any specific individual’s situation.

    What is going on? Education Corporation of America (ECA), the owner of the schools listed above, is in court trying to address its financial problems and debts that contributed to multiple school closures. The court appointed a Receiver (an outsider who is managing the company) to step in and manage the debt that ECA has been unable to pay. There are a lot of entities and people who say that ECA owes them money, and so the Receiver asked the court to approve a “Claims Process.” You may have recently received a postcard, email, text message, or telephone message about this. Essentially, this process will allow ECA and the court to figure out who ECA owes money to, and make decisions about how to handle the debts. What is a claims process? It is a method for a creditor to submit an application to a company to try to receive money that the company owes the creditor. In this case, it means that if you believe your school owes you money, you are allowed to submit an application to try to receive the money the school owes you. To submit a claim, you must submit a “Claim Form” (also known as an application) with supporting documents. What is a claim? A claim is a legal term; it is a demand for something owed or believed to be owed to a person (in other words, a right to payment). For example, if you and the school entered into a contract and the school did not fulfill its part of the contract, you may have a claim for breach of contract. You may submit an application stating this claim to receive the money you paid the school in making the contract and other related expenses. Examples of other legal claims include misrepresentation, fraud, or violations of consumer protection laws. You may want to research these claims to see if they apply to your situation as your circumstances may be different and the law differs in different states.

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    Project on Predatory Student Lending · March 2019

    What can I do? We cannot provide you with individual legal advice, but you have options available to you. You may: (1) file a claim, (2) contact a local legal aid organization or a local attorney for legal advice or help with this process, (3) reach out to your state Attorney General’s Office and/or your federal representatives, and/or (4) apply for a Closed School Discharge or another discharge or loan cancellation option provided by the Department of Education. What if I don’t submit a claim through this process? It is possible that a court will find that any claim that you have is no longer valid if you don’t submit it through this process. However, if you have a claim that is covered by ECA's AIG insurance policy, the Court has clarified that you can pursue those claims outside of this process. These claims include “breach of duty, neglect, error, statement, misstatement, misleading statement, or omission” by the schools or their employees, “educational malpractice or failure to educate; negligent instruction; failure to supervise; inadequate or negligent academic guidance or counseling; improper or inappropriate academic placement or discipline; failure to grant due process; invasion of privacy or humiliation, [] violation of the Buckley Amendment, the “Uniform Student Freedom of Expression Act,” and claims related to defamation or a contract for educational services. The policy does not provide coverage for claims regarding fraudulent acts. For a claim related to the return of tuition fees, the insurance policy only covers 80% of the tuition. In order to be covered under the policy, any claim must be made before September 3, 2019. For more information, you can find the Receiver’s Expedited Motion for Order Clarifying that Court’s Injunction Does Not Apply to Insurance Policy on page 23 and the AIG Insurance Policy on page 28. How long do I have to submit my claim? Students have until May 23, 2019, at 5:00pm EST. This is the deadline to submit a claim. However, if you know you won’t be able to submit a claim by this date, you may submit a written request for an extension to the Receiver. You must submit the request before the May 23, 2019 deadline. The Receiver’s name is John Flanders Kennedy and his email address is How can I submit a claim? It is important to submit a complete and accurate claim form with supporting documents. The Receiver has the right to challenge your claim, if it is not complete or accurate. Here are the steps: Step 1: Fill out the Claim Form

    Fill out the top section of the form then complete sections 1, 2, 3, 7, and 8. An example showing what to fill out is attached to this guide.

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    Project on Predatory Student Lending · March 2019

    In section 2, the claim form asks for the “Date Claim Accrued.” This means the date the claim came about. A claim may “accrue” on the date you knew or reasonably should have known about your claim. Different claims have different dates of accrual, and different states may have different rules. You may want to research your state’s law.

    In section 3, the claim form asks for the “Basis for Claim.” You must state your claim(s) here. Your individual claim(s) depend on your individual circumstances. It is up to you what claim(s) you state on your claim form. We cannot provide you with individual legal advice. If you want individual legal advice or help with this process, contact a local legal aid organization or a local attorney. Some claims that may be relevant to students are:

    • Claim: Breach of Contract – Enrollment Agreement • Look at your Enrollment Agreement. Does it have a provision under “REFUND

    POLICY” that states: “Program Cancellation: If an institution cancels a program subsequent to a student’s enrollment, the institution must refund all monies paid by the student?” Did the school close while you were enrolled and fail to refund you all your money? You may have a claim for breach of contract.

    • Does your Enrollment Agreement have a provision under “INTEGRATION” that states: “This Contract (along with the Catalog, each as in effect from time to time) is and shall constitute the entire agreement between the Student (and, if applicable, his/her parent or legal guardian) and the College?” This means your school’s catalog could be seen as a part of your contract with the school. If your school failed to make good on its promises in the catalog, you may have a claim for breach of contract.

    • Claim: Breach of Contract – Student Notification Acknowledgement • Before your school closed, did it make you sign an agreement that stated the

    school would stay open until a specific date and promise to provide you with a refund, help to transfer to another school, and/or help to find employment? Were you provided with these resources? If not, you may have a claim for breach of contract.

    If you submitted a Closed School Discharge or Borrower Defense application, or any other legal or administrative proceeding, you must also complete section 6. If you are working with an advocate or an attorney, include her information in section 6. You likely don’t have to fill out sections 4 and 5. Step 2: Include Supporting Documents or Explain Why You Don’t Have Any

    You should include documents relevant to your claim in your application. You may want to submit your Enrollment Agreement, your school’s catalog, a copy of your loan statements showing the amount of federal student aid and/or private loans you used for your education, expenses for books, background checks, and immunizations, and/or loss of wages. Some of these

    documents are available online:

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    Project on Predatory Student Lending · March 2019

    • Your Enrollment Agreement, along with other documents from your school are on your school’s portal

    • Your school’s catalog is on • Your federal loan information is on the National Student Loan Data System website - • Your private loan information is with your loan servicer (other information is on your

    credit report)