FORT SMITH, Ark — The University of Arkansas – Fort Smith (UAFS) is working to help students who were displaced by the closure of Vista College.
UAFS is helping Vista College students plan the next steps in their education to get back on track to pursue their chosen career paths after the trade school abruptly closed its doors after 30 years of business. Students say they were given no warning before the closure.
To university is helping displaced students and answering questions during an information and assistance session from 3-4 p.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 20, in the Latture Conference of the UAFS the College of Business and Industry.
Representatives from UAFS offices will be at the session to answer questions and help students through the process of admissions and enrollment, submitting records, academic success and testing, financial aid and veterans’ benefits and potential enrollment in the Adult Degree Completion for qualifying students.
“The first step to transitioning schools will be to apply for admission,” said Andy Johnson, director of Admissions at UAFS. “We know these students will have unique needs and educational situations, so our staff is personally reaching out to each applicant who lists Vista College as their previous institution, and discussing their situation one-on-one. We want to make the work of continuing their education as easy as possible for these students, because we know they are already in a tough position."
Because Vista College is not regionally accredited, credits will not transfer directly to UAFS, but university enrollment management staff are working diligently to find alternatives to help students earn prior learning credit through course equivalency tests like CLEP Tests.
Some of the displaced students may also be eligible for the institution’s Adult Degree Completion Program if they have previously earned credits at another regionally accredited institution.
According to UAFS, students who used their VA benefits may potentially have their entitlements restored due to school closure. Students who believe they may qualify should submit their application for restoration directly to the VA at: https://www.benefits.va.gov/gibill/fgib/restoration.asp.
Displaced students with federal loans may be eligible for a 100% discharge of their William D. Ford Federal Direct Loan (Direct Loan) Program loans, Federal Family Education Loan (FFEL) Program loans, or Federal Perkins Loans if they are unable to complete their program due to school closure providing they meet the eligibility requirements listed here.
UAFS says both of these loan options are solely at the discretion of the federal agency.