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Featured | NewsOctober 13, 2021

UAFS to Host Oct 20 Info Session for Displaced Vista Students

Written By: Rachel Putman

The University of Arkansas – Fort Smith is working to assist students displaced by the closure of Vista College of Fort Smith as they plan the next steps in their education and get back on track to pursue their chosen career paths. UAFS will also provide a $500 scholarship to displaced Vista students who choose to enroll at UAFS this January in an effort to help ease the transition cost.

The university will host an information and assistance session from 3-4 p.m. Wednesday, October 20, in-person at the Latture Conference of the UAFS the College of Business and Industry, and virtually via Zoom. Representatives from UAFS offices will be in attendance to answer questions and help displaced students through the process of admissions and enrollment, submitting records, academic success and testing, financial aid and veterans’ benefits, and potential enrollment in the Adult Degree Completion for qualifying students. 

Members of the UAFS counseling staff will also be in attendance to share mental health resources with displaced students who may be struggling following the sudden closure. Representatives from the university’s no-cost and low-cost certificate programs such as the 100% free Future Fit, will be present to help individuals who may need to find high-wage job before beginning a new educational path. For students who believe community college to be a better next step, UAFS staff are prepared to help connect students to regional community college partners.

“The first step to transitioning schools will be to apply for admission,” said Andy Johnson, director of Admissions at UAFS. “We know these students will have unique needs and educational situations, so our staff is personally reaching out to each applicant who lists Vista College as their previous institution, and discussing their situation one-on-one.”

“We want to make the work of continuing their education as easy as possible for these students, because we know they are already in a tough position. The admissions application is free to complete, and available at the top of every page of under the Apply tab. We have more than 50 degree plans and programs that align with many of the career paths these students may already be pursuing, and we offer stackable credentials so students can earn a certificate, associate’s degree and bachelor’s degree while continuing to earn more in the workforce with their growing credentials.”
Because Vista College is not accredited by the Higher Learning Council, credits will not transfer directly to UAFS, but UAFS enrollment management staff are working diligently to find alternatives to help students earn prior learning credit through course equivalency tests like CLEP Tests. Some of the displaced students may also be eligible for the institution’s Adult Degree Completion Program if they have previously earned credits at another regionally accredited institution.

According to Financial Aid servicing websites Benefits.VA.Gov and StudentAid.Gov, displaced students may have some recourse financially as well, if they have specific federal benefits or loans. Students who used their VA benefits may potentially have their entitlements restored due to School Closure. Students who believe they may qualify should submit their application for restoration directly to the VA at:

Displaced students with federal loans may be eligible for a 100 percent discharge of their William D. Ford Federal Direct Loan (Direct Loan) Program loans, Federal Family Education Loan (FFEL) Program loans, or Federal Perkins Loans if they are unable to complete their program due to school closure providing they meet the eligibility requirements listed at

Both of these loan options are solely at the discretion of the federal agency.

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Rachel Rodemann Putman

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