Vista College closes College Station campus, leaving students, former employees in limbo

Vista College notified students and staff last week they would be ceasing operations.
Published: Oct. 11, 2021 at 4:32 PM CDT
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COLLEGE STATION, Texas (KBTX) - A College Station college has closed down permanently. Now employees and students of Vista College are left wondering what’s next?

Last week, CEO Jim Tolbert announced they’d be ending classes at the College Station campus. Other campuses are shuttering too.

“You can see all my tabs and stuff and these are medical coding books,” said Kolin Wilkins who is an Army veteran, served in Afghanistan and until Friday, was a student at Vista College. He was studying medical coding.

“I had five weeks I was almost done... Extremely frustrated. I feel like most of the students and faculty and everybody, we put so much effort into this and we just got left in the dark,” he said.

The college closed last week citing financial challenges. Monday morning staff were moving personal items out. Some former employees tell us they haven’t been paid for their work.

KBTX became aware of signs of trouble in August when they announced they wouldn’t be enrolling new students on the ground.

Vista College CEO and Founder Jim Tolbert told us then they were stopping new in-person enrollment to have financial resources in place for current students.

“We were seeing significant decreases in our school population. And so for the best interest of the students, we decided to suspend enrollment. The reason we did that is to make sure we had all the financial resources at our disposal to make sure the students currently enrolled in school get exactly what they paid for,” Tolbert told us on August 9.

Other students like Virginia Galaviz are out more than $23,000 in student loans for their medical assistant program. She’s left wondering if she’ll get money back or be able to transfer credits to finish.

“On Thursday I did notice that they had actually tacked on two more loans and the price of a book. This is before we knew that they were closing,” said Galaviz. “I feel really bad for those students that were right at the end and just needed one more class or just needed their externship,” said Galaviz.

Alexis Cruz had one week left before finishing the dental assistant program.

“We definitely want answers on everything that’s going on. They’re not responding back to us. Most of us are in our externship right now,” said Cruz. “We want to finish and it’s just not given.”

“It’s been hard during the pandemic and everything but the mismanagement, they could have at least given us a heads up or something,” said Wilkins.

Former staff at the College Station campus told KBTX students should be notified about loan forgiveness / being discharged from their loans with the school closing.

We left messages for the CEO and company leadership Monday, but have not heard back.

Vista College also had Texas campuses in Beaumont, El Paso, Killeen, Lubbock and Longview.

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