Local non-profit offers free legal services to Texas college students affected by school closures

Virginia College's doors remain closed in Austin after the for-profit college chain announced shutting down dozens of campuses across the United States last week.

Students were notified through email the schools accreditation was suspended. Virginia College's parent company is Education Corporation of America who closed schools in 13 Texas cities, with no promise of a refund. A concern for students who have spent thousands on their education. 

Texas RioGrande Legal Aid is offering free legal services to any students affected by the school closures in Austin, San Antonio, Laredo and Corpus Christi.

Carla Sanchez-Adams, Managing Attorney, said students have the options of transferring to another school or apply for a school loan discharge forgiving their loan debt. 

TRLA is a non-profit helping low income residents with a variety of legal needs including consumer protection law. “A lot of these schools really prey on people who are already low income and trying to get ahead in a profession or a trade," Sanchez-Adams said.

The first step students can take is finding out what types of loans they have and who they are provided by to see if they meet the discharge loan criteria. TRLA will also find other options for the student if they do not qualify for loan forgiveness. "Most importantly we can help educate people on what their options are that's the bottom line," said Sanchez-Adams.

Students in need of assistance can call TRLA at 800-369-9270. Education Corporation of America will also have a webinar throughout the month to answer student’s questions.