Brightwood College Auto Mechanics Review

Brightwood College Logo and name

Brightwood College, formerly known as Kaplan College, has long offered a variety of health, business, criminal justice, information technology, nursing, and trades programs. Brightwood was owned by the Education Corporation of America and is not accepting new students at this time. Current students may wish to continue reading to learn more about their options now that Brightwood College has stopped accepting new applications.

Get to Know Brightwood College

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Brightwood College was part of Kaplan College until it was purchased by the Education Corporation of America. The school was operated as a for-profit institution and accredited as such. However, at the end of 2016, Brightwood College was derecognized by the U.S. Department of Education and, at the end of 2018, the college lost its accreditation under U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos.

Brightwood College has a somewhat storied history, as it was one of the Kaplan Colleges cited by the Government Accountability Office (GAO) in 2010 after investigators posing as applicants felt they were misled about the college’s offerings and abilities. Andrew Rosen, president of Kaplan Inc. at the time, said he would eliminate these issues from his company and the GAO revised its report to a small degree.

However, five years later, Kaplan College was sold in its entirety to Education Corp. and Brightwood College was renamed.

The Brightwood College Student Experience

picture of Brightwood college students in a room

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Despite negative press coverage of Brightwood College, past students reported relatively positive student experiences at the institution. Because the college had many locations and campuses, however, reports varied from geographic location to geographic location.

Tuition

information table of brightwood student population and popular programs

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Brightwood College had relatively competitive tuition rates in the for-profit college space. Medical certificate programs ranged in price from about $15,000 to $35,000, while other training programs were slightly lower or higher depending on demand and the duration of the program.

How It Compares

We picked a few similar products on the market to see how they compare:

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name

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Devry University logo

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Devry University

Bryant & Stratton College

Universal Technical Institute logo

Image source: uti.edu

Universal Technical Institute

Brightwood College

Since Brightwood College is no longer accepting applications, the best use of this information for students will be to identify issues they may have encountered at the school and determine what options are now available to them. Brightwood College lost its accreditation in 2018, and the company terminated much of the employment at the school shortly thereafter.

Students were notified via email that the school was closing. Some facilities maintained skeleton crews to address student issues during the closing process.

Student complains often centered around:

  • Negative experienced with veterans services
  • Negative experiences with financial aid offices
  • Negative experiences with specific teachers

Student’s positive reports tended to revolve around:

  • Positive experiences with specific teachers
  • Ability to obtain needed certification for existing employment
  • Positive experiences with speed of program completion

Price

$$$

Since Brightwood College charged as much as $35,000 for some degree programs, the cost of attending the college was certainly not cheap. However, it was comparable to out-of-state costs for other educational institutions; albeit Brightwood College credentials may no longer carry the cache they once did. Combining the loss of credibility and the high tuition, we were compelled to rate this school as among the costliest in the country.

Available Degree Programs

While it was operating, Brightwood College offered a number of trade vocations as well as multi-year degree programs. However, since all students have been notified they will no longer be able to attend the college and the doors have closed, there are no available degree programs at this time. For this reason, we give Brightwood one star.

How to Apply

You cannot apply to Brightwood College.

Unique Features of the School

Brightwood College offered many unique features, including a vast array of campuses and accelerated training programs that brought certifications or degrees with them at completion. It also offered “placement services” and on-campus daycare, which was highly attractive to older students.

Now, the most unique feature will likely hinge on the campus at which a student was enrolled, as some states, such as Maryland, are attempting to help former students navigate the tricky waters of getting student loan debts forgiven or frozen while they seek other educational options.

Job Prospects at Graduation

While Brightwood College promised students upon enrollment that they would help with graduation, many former students reported poor results when they sought assistance finding a job after graduation. However, others argued that the school did not mislead students about employment help. They said they received training in how to succeed in job interviews and left feeling prepared.

Pros

  • Student loan debt assistance, depending on state

Cons

  • College is closed
  • No accreditation
  • Allegedly misleading claims about services

Devry University

DeVry University Logo

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Devry University was ranked in U.S. News and World Report’s “Best Colleges” for Regional Universities Midwest, Tier 2. The school is a for-profit college and has been in operation since 1931. Although it began as a training school, the school changed its title to “university” in 2002.

Although the school has been involved in investigations and lawsuits over the years, it has remained intact and the name has remained unchanged for the duration. Devry has offered settlements occasionally but has not closed or been sold; although in 2017 there was some speculation that it might be.

Price

$$$

Devry appears to offer in-state tuition at some of of its locations, but this offering does not lower costs much below other for-profit colleges that do not offer this benefit. Undergraduate tuition at Devry costs around $16,000, with an additional $1,500 in costs for books and supplies.

This does not include cost of room and board, since Devry does not offer campus housing in most cases. Devry makes suggestions about what students should expect to pay based on the location a student plans to attend.

The school also offers some grants for education and emphasizes its hard work to get students prior credit from other institutions when possible.

Available Degree Programs

Devry University offers programs in six main areas of study:

  • Business
  • Technology
  • Health
  • Liberal Arts
  • Media Arts
  • Graduate level programs

The university also offers a number of specializations and certifications, including:

  • Medical billing
  • Website design
  • Website development
  • Medical coding

Devry offers Master’s degrees in:

  • Accounting
  • Business administration
  • Human resources
  • Information systems management
  • Network and communications management
  • Project management
  • Public administration

How to Apply

Applying to Devry University is easy, with the first step taking only about 10 minutes and occurring entirely online. However, the actual admissions process is a little more elaborate, since once you tell the school what your educational background is, your educational plans move forward, and you pay the application fee, you will need to provide:

  • Transcripts
  • Information about previously earned credits
  • Information to a “student finance professional”
  • Information to your new “career services advisor”

Unique Features of the School

Devry University operates on a three-semester calendar to expedite the educational process. The school also has multiple online offerings at the undergraduate and graduate level.

Job Prospects at Graduation

Despite having a somewhat complicated history, Devry has been around long enough that few graduates who complete their degree programs report issues finding employment.

However, most of these positive reports appear to come from students who completed a degree program. This is not surprising since many certificate earners are already employed and are updating or upgrading their qualifications, but it is worth noting.

Pros

  • Lots of locations 
  • Long history under the same name
  • Few reported employment issues post-graduation
  • Online learning for graduate and undergraduate programs
  • Lots of degrees

Cons

  • Relatively expensive
  • May be for sale
  • Reported issues from veterans

Bryant & Stratton College

Bryant & Stratton College is a for-profit college with campuses in New York, Ohio, Virginia, and Wisconsin. The school also offers online courses of study. Bryan & Stratton was founded in 1854 and has operated under the same name for the duration. It is also accredited by the New York State Board of Regents and the Middle States Commission on Higher Education, which is recognized by the United States Department of Education.

Price

$$$

Students taking online courses at Bryan & Stratton paid slightly less than others in comparable online programs. In fact, tuition and fees tend to be just over$14,000 in total. However, historically Bryant & Stratton raises tuition by about 2.1 percent each year. The school offers a variety of financial aid, including:

  • Undergraduate scholarships and grants
  • State-sponsored financial aid
  • Federal financial aid

Students report that including their student loans, they receive nearly $13,000 in financial aid. However you must remember loans must be paid back starting about six months after you complete your degree program.

Students living on campus may pay more for housing, but the comparable price of an in-state education in New York, for example, is still higher by about $4,000.

Available Degree Programs

Bryant & Stratton offers 15 online degree programs and many more for on-site students. Their main offerings fall in six areas:

  • Legal services
  • Design
  • Healthcare
  • Business
  • Technology
  • Education

The school offers associates degrees and bachelor’s degrees in multiple areas in each of these fields.

How to Apply

To apply at Bryant & Stratton, students start with an online application that deals with their personal information, goals for their education, educational background, and personal background. Once this initial process is complete, students move through the acceptance process, including sending relevant transcripts, working with an advisor to determine what previously earned credits will qualify at Bryant & Stratton, and figuring out how to pay their tuition.

Unique Features of the School

In addition to having a long history, Bryan & Stratton has a number of notable alumni, including:

  • John D. Rockefeller 
  • Henry Ford
  • George H. Prouty
  • Numerous other successful businesspeople and politicians

Bryant & Stratton began as a business institute but, after receiving accreditation, started granting degrees.

Job Prospects at Graduation

Despite a long list of successful alumni, Bryan & Stratton’s recent graduates report difficulties finding employment after graduation. Many report receiving high grades and using the college’s career services program aggressively but still finding it difficult to locate employment in their field. This is disturbing since many graduated in healthcare and medical fields, both of which are growing industries.

Pros

  • Lots of successful alumni
  • Long history under the same name
  • Lots of degree programs

Cons

  • May have issues finding a job with a degree from this school
  • Not many locations 
  • Limited online courses

Universal Technical Institute

Universal Technical Institute logo

Image source: uti.edu

The Universal Technical Institute is a campus-based, for-profit college. It has expanded mainly through acquisitions of other training programs, and purports to work with NASCAR and a variety of other specific automotive manufacturers. Most training occurs in on-site facilities, which may create issues for some students seeking job-site training. The school was founded in 1965 and has acquired multiple training programs since that time.

Price

$$$

Although the net price for this school is not particularly out of range with the other schools in this article, it does rise with household income. Overall, the average price of a year in a program here will likely be around $18,000 before considering room and board. This tally is after financial aid is applied, though, according to the college.

Although the institute does offer a collegiate housing program intended to keep costs down, students report that the monthly cost of living may be exponentially higher than advertised.

Available Degree Programs

Universal Technical Institute offers for-profit technical education training for students seeking entry-level employment in the following areas:

  • Automotive
  • Diesel
  • Collision repair
  • Motorcycle repair
  • Marine technicians

The school is campus-based and most of the training is offered in campus facilities, which may create issues for some students seeking job-site training.

How to Apply

The Universal Technical Institute recently switched to a new enrollment process that takes place entirely online. Individuals wishing to become students do not “apply.” They simply enroll by selecting the courses they wish to take, providing some information and educational background materials, and navigating the payment process. Most issues with applications will likely hinge on ability to pay tuition or physical location.

Unique Features of the School

One of the unique features of this school is that although it offers many programs, they do not result in certification. In fact, they simply prepare the student for certification. While this is not entirely unheard of, it is problematic since the school’s tuition is some of the highest in the country for its type.

Universal Technical Institute does offer unique trainings in terms of providing very specific knowledge bases like NASCAR and marine technician expertise, but these do not come with certification at the end of the program, either.

Job Prospects at Graduation

The school does not have a particularly good placement rate due, in large part due to students’ problems gaining certification after graduation. While this may be a good school to prepare for additional education elsewhere or to update current education, it seems unlikely that simply attending this institution will result in advantages in the job market.

Pros

  • Unique program offerings
  • Easy “enrollment” instead of application

Cons

  • Very expensive
  • Difficult to find a job upon conclusion of program
  • Relatively little job-site training
  • Few or no earn-and-learn programs

Brightwood College Students Headed for a Tough Road

students sitting in class while listening intently to a speaker

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If you are a current Brightwood College student, you could experience some tough times ahead. We found few schools accepting credits from this school, and any student loan debts you incurred may come due since Brightwood College students are all now unenrolled at the institution. State and federal programs may exist to help with this burden depending on where you attended Brightwood College. Because of its controversial past, many changes in name, and abrupt termination at the end of 2018, we give Brightwood College just one star.