UAFS to assist displaced students after closure of Vista College in Fort Smith

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FORT SMITH, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) — The University of Arkansas-Fort Smith says it is working to assist students who have been displaced by the closure of Vista College of Fort Smith.

According to a news release from UAFS, the university will host an information and assistance session from 3-4 p.m. Wednesday, October 20, in the Latture Conference Center at the UAFS College of Business and Industry.

The release says representatives from UAFS offices will be in attendance to answer questions and help displaced students through the process of admissions and enrollment, submitting records, academic success and testing, financial aid and vetrans’ benefits, and potential enrollment in the Adult Degree Completion of 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. The admissions application is free to complete, and available at the top of every page of UAFS.edu under the Apply tab. We have more than 50 degree plans and programs that align with many of the career paths these students may already be pursuing, and we offer stackable credentials so students can earn a certificate, associate’s degree and bachelor’s degree while continuing to earn more in the workforce with their growing credentials.”

Since Vista College is not regionally accredited, credits will not transfer directly to UAFS. The school says UAFS enrollment staff is working 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 the release.

The school says displaced students may have some recourse financially as well, if they have specific federal benefits or loans.

Students who used their Veterans Affairs benefits may potentially have their entitlements restored due to the school closure.

Students who believe they may qualify should submit their application for restoration directly to Veterans Affairs.

The school says displaced students with federal loans may be eligible for a 100% discharge of their William D. Ford Federal Direct Loan Program loans, Federal Family Education Loan 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.

Both loan options are solely at the discretion of the federal agency, according to UAFS.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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