History

We are in the business of transforming lives.
  • 1940s Southern Business College founded in Birmingham, Alabama.
  • 1950–86 Southern Business College grows and is renamed Southern Junior College and Southern Institute, moving into two different Birmingham campus locations.
  • 1983 Virginia College founded by Atlantic Group, Inc. in Roanoke, Virginia. Two other campuses are opened in nearby cities.
  • 1985 Virginia College receives junior college status.
  • 1986 Southern Business College and Southern Institute are purchased by Phillips Junior College.
  • 1989 Virginia College is purchased by Career Futures, Inc., which is owned by the original founders in Birmingham of Southern Junior College and Southern Institute.
  • 1992 Virginia College opens its first branch campus in Birmingham, Alabama, which soon is designated as the main campus.
  • 1995 Virginia College opens a branch campus in Huntsville, Alabama..
  • 1996 The programs of Phillips Junior College in Birmingham are merged into Virginia College at Birmingham.
  • 1997 Virginia College receives Senior College status from the Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools (ACICS) and adds bachelor degree programs to its offerings.
  • 1999 Virginia College is purchased by a newly-formed group, Education Corporation of America (ECA), which includes several of the existing ownership and management of the schools.
  • 2000 ECA opens the third branch campus of Virginia College in Jackson, Mississippi

    Virginia College in Birmingham opens
    Culinard, the Culinary Institute of Virginia College.
  • 2001 ECA purchases Medical Career Centers in Mobile, Alabama, and Pensacola, Florida.
  • 2002 ECA opens the fourth branch campus of Virginia College in Austin, Texas.
  • 2003 Virginia College begins offering classes via the Internet.

    Virginia College in Birmingham offers its first master's degree program, both on-ground and online.
  • 2004 Medical Career Centers are renamed Virginia College at Mobile and Virginia College at Pensacola.

    Education Corporation of America is purchased by Willis-Stein and Partners, a Chicago-based private equity investment firm.
  • 2005 ECA opens a branch campus, Virginia College Gulf Coast, in Biloxi, Mississippi.
  • 2006 ECA purchases San Diego Golf Academy schools with campuses in Honolulu, San Diego, Phoenix, Myrtle Beach, and Orlando.

    ECA opens a branch campus of Virginia College in Chattanooga, Tennessee.
  • 2008 ECA opens a branch campus of Virginia College in Montgomery, Alabama.

    ECA opens a branch campus of Virginia College in Greenville, South Carolina

    The name of the San Diego Golf Academy schools changed to Golf Academy of America to better reflect the rapid growth and broad geographical reach of the schools.
  • 2009 ECA opens a branch campus of Virginia College in Jacksonville, Florida.

    ECA opens a branch campus of Virginia College in Augusta, Georgia.

    ECA opens a branch campus of Virginia College in Charleston, South Carolina.
  • 2010 ECA opens a branch campus of Virginia College in Columbia, South Carolina.

    ECA opens Ecotech Institute in Denver, Colorado.

    ECA opens a branch campus of Virginia College in Macon, Georgia.

    ECA opens a branch campus of Virginia College in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.

  • 2011 ECA opens a branch campus of Virginia College in Columbus, Georgia.

    ECA opens a branch campus of Virginia College in Savannah, Georgia.

    ECA opens a Golf Academy of America campus in Dallas, Texas.

    ECA opens a branch campus of Virginia College in Spartanburg, South Carolina.

    ECA opens a branch campus of Virginia College in Richmond, Virginia.
  • 2012 ECA opens a branch campus of Virginia College in Knoxville, Tennessee.

    ECA opens a branch campus of Virginia College in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

    ECA opens a branch campus of Virginia College in Florence, South Carolina.

    ECA opens a branch campus of Virginia College in Shreveport/Bossier City, Louisiana.

    ECA acquires online college New England College of Business® headquartered in Boston, Massachusetts.

    ECA opens a branch campus of Virginia College in Greensboro, North Carolina.
  • 2013 ECA opens Kitchen on Cary in Richmond, Virginia.

    ECA opens Kitchen at Union Square in Chattanooga, Tennessee.
  • 2014 ECA opens a branch campus of Virginia College in Lubbock, Texas.

    ECA opens a branch campus of Virginia College in Fort Pierce, Florida.
  • 2015 ECA acquires 38 campuses from Kaplan Higher Education, which include Kaplan College, Kaplan Career Institute, TESST College of Technology and Texas School of Business.

    Kaplan College in Dayton, Ohio is rebranded as Brightwood College.

    Texas School of Business campuses in North Houston and Friendswood, are rebranded as Brightwood College.

    TESST College of Technology campuses in Beltsville, Baltimore and Towson, are rebranded as Brightwood College.

    Kaplan Career Institute, with five Pennsylvania campuses (Broomall, Franklin Mills, Harrisburg, Philadelphia and Pittsburgh) is rebranded as Brightwood Career Institute.
  • 2016 Kaplan College campuses in Charlotte, North Carolina; Hammond, Indiana; Indianapolis, Indiana and Nashville, Tennessee are rebranded as Brightwood College.

    Kaplan College campuses in California, including: Bakersfield, Chula Vista, Fresno, Modesto, Palm Springs, Sacramento, San Diego and Vista; along with a campus in Las Vegas, Nevada; are rebranded as Brightwood College.

    Kaplan College campuses in Texas, including: Arlington, Beaumont, Brownsville, Corpus Christi, Dallas, El Paso, Fort Worth, Laredo, McAllen, San Antonio/Ingram and San Antonio/San Pedro; are rebranded as Brightwood College.

    Kaplan College campuses in North Hollywood and Riverside, California are rebranded as Brightwood College.