Education Corporation of America, Inc. (ECA) discontinued all academic operations in Colorado on Dec. 7, 2018, affecting three locations in Colorado operating as Brightwood College, Brightwood (ITA) and Ecotech Institute.
- Brightwood College locations: 2200 S. Monaco Parkway, Unit R, Denver CO 80222
- Ecotech Institute location: 1400 S. Abilene Street, Aurora, CO 80012
The Colorado Department of Higher Education’s Division of Private Occupational Schools (DPOS) is working closely with students, ECA headquarters in Alabama and Colorado institutions of higher education to support Colorado students through this transition.
IMPORTANT NOTICE: As of Dec. 21, 2018, DPOS will allow former Ecotech Instiute students to access their transcript for free for the next three months. To request a transcript, please read the directions and fill out the forms at the bottom of this webpage.
DPOS will post transfer options on this webpage as soon as they are available. Please check back for updates.
Options for Ecotech and Brightwood Students
Students affected by the closure of the ECA campuses have three options:
- Pursue a federal loan discharge and state refund of self-paid or private lender monies paid to the school.
- Pursue a transfer opportunity at a state-approved teach-out school. In this option, credits will be pre-arranged to transfer to the institution.
- Independently pursue a self-chosen transfer to another school. In this option, there is no guarantee of the transfer of credits. Credit acceptance is at the sole discretion of the recipient institution.
If a student chooses Option B or Option C, the student cannot pursue Option A. If a student chooses Option A, the student cannot pursue a state-approved teach-out or transfer.
Option A: Pursue a federal loan discharge and state refund
Information Regarding Federal Student Loan Forgiveness
If you took out loans to attend Brightwood College or Ecotech Institute, you may be eligible to have your federal student loans discharged and have any amounts already paid on those loans reimbursed. Federal regulations provide that students who are actively enrolled in a school that closes, or who withdrew up to 120 days before the school closed and were not able to complete their program of study, can apply for a Closed School Discharge of their Federal Direct Loans, Federal Perkins Loans or FFEL Loans used to attend the closed school.
To receive a Closed School Discharge, you must file an application to your loan servicer. You can determine your current loan servicer and check how much you currently owe in federal debt at www.nslds.ed.gov. You should contact your loan servicer with questions related to the Closed School Discharge process to obtain an application. You can also print this application and submit it to your servicer.
Completing your program of study through another school can disqualify you from receiving a Closed School Discharge. As such, you should carefully consider your options and personal finances before continuing your studies or applying for a Closed School Discharge. For some people, having their loans discharged will be preferable to continuing their programs of study and being obligated to repay the student loan debt accrued at Brightwood College or Ecotech Institute. Students whose loans are discharged have the option of pursuing a new degree at institutions that are less expensive, such as state universities or community colleges.
Information Regarding Refund through DPOS
Information regarding the state refunds process will be posted shortly.
Option B: Continue education through a state approved teach-out or transfer agreement at a Colorado institution
DPOS is working on all available options to transfer Brightwood and Ecotech credit into specific academic programs. We will continue to post program options as they become available.
Wind Program transfer options: Front Range Community College, Northeastern Community College and Larimer County Community College.
Electrical/Electronics transfer options: Front Range Community College and Spartan College.
If a student chooses to pursue a teach-out or transfer opportunity (Option B), the student cannot pursue loan discharge and state refund. If a student chooses Option A, the student cannot pursue a teach-out or transfer.
Option C: Independently transfer to another institution
In this option, students will independently transfer to another school. Credit transfer is subject to the receiving institution's transfer policies. We will post transfer opportunities as soon as they become available.
Informational Open Houses
DPOS has been working with ECA to host an informational open house for Brightwood and Ecotech students that will walk through transfer credit agreements, credit for prior learning and veteran experience, teach-out agreements and other opportunities for students to reach their educational and career goals. We will post the date and times of these open houses as soon as they are scheduled.
U.S Department of Education webinars
The U.S. Department of Education is hosting series of informational webinars for those affected by ECA closures. Review the schedule.
Students using VA Education Benefits
Students using Veteran Administration Education Benefits should contact the Maryland State Approving Agency for details on transferring GI Bill® benefits and ensuring program approval for the use of VA Education Benefits. Veterans with specific inquiries may call 1-800-974-0203 or send an email to email@example.com.
Please note: To continue your education using your Title 38 educational benefits, you must be enrolled in a qualified program or educational institution.
Visit the GI Bill® Comparison Tool for assistance in selecting an alternate program or school. You can also find research information regarding school tuition and fees, basic housing allowance rates, graduation statistics and loan default rates.
You can find a complete list of qualified programs and schools on the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs website.
For further assistance
- Visit the GI Bill® website to access education benefit information.
- All questions regarding eligibility and payment of GI Bill benefits must be directed to USDVA at 1-888-GIBILL1.
- Complaints regarding a specific school or program should be directed to USDVA.
CLEP Test Resources
Administered through CollegeBoard, the College-Level Examination Program (CLEP) allows students from a wide range of ages and backgrounds to demonstrate their mastery of introductory college-level material and earn college credit. Students can earn credit for what they already know by getting qualifying scores on any of the 33 examinations.
Peterson's, an educational services company, is offering free CLEP test preparation for students affected by the EcoTech Institute and Brightwood College's closing. For more information, visit the Peterson's website.