WOODBRIDGE, Va. (DC News Now) — Stratford University, a private, for-profit college that has campuses in Alexandria and Woodbridge in addition to Baltimore, announced that it will be shutting down after the U.S. Department of Education decertified its accreditor.
The announcement following the accreditation and financial difficulties sparked worries among students, many of whom were on the verge of completing their program and now face uncertainties.
During a Monday meeting at Stratford’s Alexandria campus, students brought signs and called for answers from the school’s president, Richard Schurtz.
“I didn’t ask for this,” Schurtz said at the meeting, which was captured on Facebook Live by nursing student Amethyst Whitaker. “This is hurting my heart.”
After the meeting, Whitaker spoke to DC News Now.
“All of us were on edge,” she said. “We were very emotional. This is something we’ve been dedicated to for the past several years.”
Whitaker said she is devastated the school lost its accreditation — especially since she had just six courses to go until she completed the program.
“My first thought was, ‘who’s going to take us, what’s going to happen next, are we going to have to start over, are we going to have to re-take things?'” Whitaker said.
Whitaker is not alone. Fellow nursing student Jasmyn McEachin said all she wants to do is finish — and finish soon. She’s three courses away and she already has a job lined up at INOVA.
“All the time away from our family, our friends, our jobs, our marriages, our kids — people have lives,” McEachin said. “And for two years it’s been on hold. And just now it’s getting to the sweet spot and it’s just gone.”
Schurtz said on Wednesday, representatives from Chamberlain University, a for-profit school in Tysons, will come and discuss if Stratford students could transfer there.
“They initially were reluctant because they didn’t think they had the capacity,” Schurtz said. “But if they can use some of our faculty and some of our physical spots we convinced them they had the capacity.”
McEachin said: “Whether it’s Stratford, ECPI Chamberlain, any of the schools that they have mentioned, any one just taking us without being pushed back over a year, that would be great.”
Whitaker said she won’t be content until everything is finalized.
“So that sounds good but in all actuality, Stratford has said things like this in the past,” she said.