Texas School of Business is among the oldest educational institutions, providing quality education since the early 1980s. It began as a modest secretarial school, but quickly (and continuously) expanded its curriculum to position itself as the premier business and professional education hub in the Texas area.
Under the leadership of T.S.B. Holding Co. Inc., the institute adeptly navigated the ever-evolving educational terrain. It expanded into new territories during the late 90s and early 2000s, further solidifying its influence and inching closer towards its mission of providing quality education for all.
However, a pivotal juncture emerged in November 2015 when the Education Corp. of America (ECA) acquired the Texas School of Business and rebranded it as Brightwood College. This merger brought unforeseen challenges, ultimately culminating in the decision to shutter all Brightwood College campuses.
So, what happened?
What factors contributed to the dissolution of an institution that once thrived across multiple campuses?
Join us as we embark on a journey through the highs and lows of the Texas School of Business. This institution’s rollercoaster ride reflects the challenges and changes often accompanying educational endeavors.
Founding and Early Days of Texas School of Business
In 1983, Texas School of Business made its debut in education with its first campus in North Houston. The initial campus was modest, featuring a handful of classrooms and a library.
Word quickly spread, and by the end of its inaugural year, the school experienced a surge in enrolments and inquiries.
Just a year later, in 1984, the institution embarked on a significant expansion. Recognizing the changing needs of students and the dynamic business landscape, Texas School of Business moved beyond secretarial studies and introduced a range of business programs to its curriculum.
This strategic shift showcased forward thinking and aligned the institution with the demands of the professional world.
The school’s emphasis on practical business education and its expanded curriculum began yielding positive outcomes. The coursework focused on essential real-world skills like accounting, finance, and marketing, attracting a diverse pool of students, including working professionals.
The addition of the Medical Assistant program in 1987 showcased the institution’s adaptability to evolving professional demands. Subsequently, in 1988, a new campus was established in the southwest region of Houston, solidifying its presence in the educational landscape.
As time passed, Texas School of Business gained prominence and reputation. With a strong student body and impressive graduation rates, the institution garnered praise from both current students and alum.
The Acquisition and Rebranding Phase
Even after being acquired by T.S.B. Holding Co. Inc. in 1996, Texas School of Business continued to expand its horizons. The corporation, which already managed other for-profit colleges like Brown Mackie College and Sanford-Brown College, added Texas School of Business to its portfolio to enrich its educational offerings.
Interestingly, the change in ownership didn’t bring significant alterations to the school’s operations. Texas School of Business retained its existing approach and curriculum.
In fact, under T.S.B. Holding Co. Inc.’s guidance, the institution witnessed a steady rise. Capital injections and well-strategized plans led to remarkable growth, including the establishment of a third campus in Friendswood, Texas, in 1999. Shortly after came a fourth campus in East Houston in 2003.
However, the educational landscape is complex and dynamic. As the mid-2000s arrived, Texas School of Business encountered challenges. Financial constraints and heightened competition from other for-profit colleges cast uncertainties.
Crumbling under pressure, T.S.B. Holding Co. Inc. transferred ownership of Texas School of Business to Kaplan Inc., a New York-based educational and career services firm. This transition resulted in the acquisition of four Texas School of Business campuses in key Texan cities – Houston, Austin, Dallas, and El Paso.
Following the footsteps of its predecessors, Kaplan Inc. aimed to expand its presence in Texas, a state known for its growing for-profit education market. This set in motion a series of events that eventually led to the closure of one of Texas’ prominent educational institutions.
The Downward Spiral
Initially, the transition seemed promising – Kaplan Inc. brought resources, and Texas School of Business anticipated growth.
There was a problem, though: Following the acquisition, Kaplan Inc. embarked on a series of changes to Texas School of Business. This included renaming all campuses to Kaplan College – Texas and realigning the curriculum with Kaplan’s other educational institutions.
Unfortunately, not all changes resonated well with students and alums. Tuition hikes at Kaplan College – Texas and a pronounced shift towards online learning was met with mixed reactions. The repercussions of these changes were visible almost immediately, as some students dropped out while alums felt a sense of detachment from their alma mater.
The result: Kaplan College – Texas started facing financial struggles. Enrollment dropped, tuition rose, and graduation rates fell, challenging profitability. On top of this, federal authorities increased their scrutiny over Kaplan Inc., primarily due to rising concerns of exorbitant tuition and the declining graduation rates.
In light of the mounting tribulations, Kaplan Inc. decided to relinquish Kaplan College – Texas to Education Corp. of America (ECA), a Florida-based for-profit college entity.
ECA was a for-profit college company looking to expand its market share, and it believed that it could turn Kaplan College – Texas around and make it profitable.
So, in 2015, Education Corp. of America (ECA) acquired Texas School of Business from Kaplan Inc. and rebranded it to Brightwood College. Following this, ECA made several changes to the school’s curriculum and operations.
As the echoes of change reverberated through the corridors of Texas School of Business – now Brightwood College – a series of new challenges emerged in their wake. Owing to ECA’s status as a for-profit entity, it became increasingly evident that the spotlight was mostly on revenue; not education for all.
Following the rebranding, ECA went on to restructure the curriculum, leading to massive spikes in tuition fees across all Brightwood College campuses. At the same time, ECA’s emphasis on moving away from the traditional teaching method towards online earning failed to attract new students.
If this wasn’t enough, rumors started making rounds. People started raising concerns and allegations about ECA’s aggressive recruitment tactics, further drawing the ire of authorities. This, paired with the rest of the problems, severely impacted the institution’s credibility and strained the relationship between Brightwood College and its stakeholders.
In this tumultuous environment, several variables triggered a cascade of consequences. The escalated tuition and shift to online learning correlated with a pronounced decline in student enrollment. Concurrently, the institution’s graduation rates nosedived due to the challenges students faced in navigating online coursework while grappling with tuition burdens.
Yet, the final blow was a devastating one. The loss of accreditation in December 2018 from the Accrediting Council for Business Schools and Programs (ACBSP) resulted in a series of new problems. This made it difficult for students to transfer credits to other schools and for employers to accept their degrees.
The domino effect triggered over a decade ago was on the verge of culmination. Finally, in February 2019 – a mere two months following the accreditation setback – ECA declared the closure of all Brightwood College campuses.
The writing on the wall was clear – a combination of adverse circumstances and challenges had brought the illusive chapter of Texas School of Business to an end.
Texas School of Business: A Cautionary Tale
The story of Texas School of Business is a testament to the ever-evolving nature of education. The institution’s journey, marked by expansion, acquisition, and rebranding, paints a vivid picture of the opportunities and pitfalls that can shape the destiny of educational ventures.
Amidst this narrative, a crucial lesson emerges: Pursuing profit must never eclipse the essence of education. It serves as a reminder that upholding transparency, nurturing student well-being, and safeguarding educational integrity remain the cornerstones of an enduring school legacy.
Reflecting on the past, the reverberations of escalated tuition costs, alarmingly low graduation rates, and assertive recruitment practices extend far beyond Texas School of Business. These are some of the biggest modern challenges woven into the American educational landscape.
This intricate scenario underscores the imperative need for a balanced approach – one that harmonizes fiscal pragmatism with doing what’s best for a student body. This includes both their curriculum and well-being.
The rise and fall of Texas School of Business captures a cautionary tale for educational institutions. This narrative stands as a reminder that every choice made in the realm of education carries a profound and lasting impact.