Program — Virginia College* — GNTC
Administrative assistant certificate — $17,188 — Less than $2,000
Cosmetology certificate — $19,828 — $7,500
Associate degree in criminal justice — $34,276 — $5,200
Medical assistant certificate — $21,460 — $4,875
Pharmacy tech certificate — $21,460 — $3,075
Medical billing and coding certificate — $21,460 — $4,875
* Books and other fees are built-in
Source: Northwest Georgia Regional Commission
CALHOUN, Ga. -- Northwest Georgia officials have decided Virginia College can't be involved in their programs because the for-profit school's tuition is too high and it's not accredited by the right group.
Members of the Northwest Georgia Regional Commission voted unanimously not to allow the college to participate in training programs through the Workforce Investment Board.
The college's initial request was denied, and this latest decision turned down the college's appeal.
A report released at the meeting said the expense of Virginia College's training programs -- which runs as much as eight times the tuition at Georgia Northwestern Technical College -- is "significantly higher than comparable training at the area's technical and community colleges."
The report also noted that the school is not accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.
Gwen Dellinger, director of the region's Workforce Development Program, said the lack of accreditation meant classes at the Birmingham, Ala.-based school would not transfer to other schools.
The Workforce Investment Board provides assistance to qualified residents who seek degrees in certain fields. Virginia College operates schools in 20 locations from Texas to Virginia, including a Chattanooga campus that opened in 2006, according to the company website.
Don Keith, a spokesman for Virginia College, said school officials would continue trying to work something out with the commission as they have with commissions in Augusta and Columbus, Ga.
"We actually work with workforce investment boards all over the country," he said.
He defended the tuition costs, saying that public schools take tax dollars from residents. The public funding is a hidden cost residents don't realize they are paying, he said.
Additionally, the costs of books, labs and other fees are rolled into Virginia's tuition cost, but state schools charge separately, he said.
"A lot of things go into that," he said.
He also said the school is accredited by Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools and transfer credit always is handled on a case-by-case basis.
Attempts to reach Dellinger for follow-up questions were unsuccessful Friday.
Andy began working at the Times Free Press in July 2008 as a general assignment reporter before focusing on Northwest Georgia and Georgia politics in May of 2009. Before coming to the Times Free Press, Andy worked for the Anniston Star, the Rome News Tribune and the Campus Carrier at Berry College, where he graduated with a communications degree in 2006. He is pursuing a master’s degree in business administration at the University of Tennessee ...