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Medical Careers Institute (MCI) – School of Health Science of ECPI University, Virginia Beach Campus, Withdrawn from Offering Education and Training to Veterans and their Dependents

MCI is the School of Health Science of ECPI University in the Commonwealth of Virginia

December 7, 2015

Richmond – The Virginia Department of Veterans Services State Approving Agency (SAA) notified the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (USDVA) that the approval of Medical Careers Institute – School of Health Science of ECPI University (MCI), Virginia Beach Campus operating in the Commonwealth of Virginia has been withdrawn from offering education and training to Veterans and their dependents effective December 2, 2015. This withdrawal precludes MCI from receiving GI Bill education benefits from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. This withdrawal only affects the Virginia Beach campus. However, the Newport News, Richmond, and North Chesterfield campuses have been suspended for 60 days effective December 7, 2015.

UNDERSTANDING THE ACTION TAKEN BY the Virginia SAA:

On September 30, 2015, the Virginia SAA suspended MCI, Virginia Beach campus for 60 days to conduct a thorough investigation of MCI’s policies, procedures, and business practices. It was found that MCI violated the Code of Federal Regulation 21.4252 (h)(i), which states, “If an educational institution uses advertising, sales, enrollment practices or candidate handbooks that are erroneous, deceptive, and misleading by actual statement, omission or intimation, VA will not approve.” The issues that facilitated the withdrawal were: the school changing policies and not adhering to the students’ contracts, the school withholding student transcripts against the published school policy, the school changing school policy without any reasonable notification to the students, and an overall lack of clarity and consistency in communicating school policies and changes. Since the initial complaint, there have been additional complaints lodged against MCI at the Newport News campus with the same issues.

To ensure GI Bill beneficiaries are protected, the Virginia SAA has suspended branch campuses of MCI (Newport News, Richmond, and North Chesterfield) to verify whether the issues cited for withdrawal are unique to the Virginia Beach campus or whether these issues are ingrained in the MCI culture and affect all of the branch campuses.

HOW THE WITHDRAWAL IMPACTS YOU:

GI Bill benefits may be utilized by Veterans and eligible dependents (such as spouses and children) only at institutions approved by the State Approving Agency of jurisdiction. Withdrawal of approval to offer education and training to Veterans and other eligible persons means USDVA will not pay education benefits for your enrollment at MCI. GI Bill benefits will only be paid through the end of the semester, quarter, or term in which you are currently enrolled.

The SAA has contacted approved schools in the area that have agreed to work with students who are interested in transferring to an approved program. Please click on MCI Alternative Schools on the SAA website: http://www.dvs.virginia.gov/education-employment/state-approving-agency/.

You are also encouraged to visit the GI Bill website at http://www.benefits.va.gov/gibill/  to access the GI Bill Comparison Tool which streamlines information into an easy-to-use online tool that provides information to calculate benefits and research approved programs, tuition/fees, housing allowance, graduation and loan default rates.

USDVA AUTHORITY:

The VA administers the GI Bill, and makes all determinations related to Veteran education benefit eligibility and payments. The VA also regulates entitlements paid to Veterans and performs all calculations. All questions regarding eligibility and payment of GI Bill benefits must be directed to the VA at 1-888-GIBILL1.

The Virginia SAA is unable to answer questions or provide assistance with issues regarding eligibility or payment of USDVA education benefits.

SUMMARY – WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW:

  • Effective December 2, 2015, SAA approval is withdrawn at the Medical Careers Institute, Virginia Beach, Virginia campus
  • Effective December 7, 2015, SAA approval is suspended at the Medical Careers Institute, Newport News, Richmond, and North Chesterfield, Virginia campuses
  • VA will not pay GI Bill education benefits at an unapproved or suspended institution
  • Visit the SAA website for a list of approved facilities in Virginia http://www.dvs.virginia.gov/state-approving-agency.shtml
  • Only VA can provide assistance or address questions related to GI Bill eligibility or payment
  • Questions or concerns related to MCI and its schools should be directed to MCI representatives
  • You should contact your school directly to inquire about other financial options
  • Visit VA’s GI Bill website at http://www.benefits.va.gov/gibill/to access education benefit information.
  • Questions about the withdrawal of approval at your campus may be e-mailed to tramaine.carroll-payne@dvs.virginia.gov or martina.murray@dvs.virginia.gov