Corinthian Colleges, a for-profit post-secondary education company, has been ordered to shut down its remaining 28 schools, including Everest College in Alhambra. The announcement was made on Sunday, giving staff and students little warning. Now, more than 10,000 students are out of school and left with the debt they'd incurred on tuition fees, according to the Los Angeles Times.
The US Education Department started an investigation into Corinthian in January 2014. This month, the department dealt a $30-million fine against Heald College, which is also run by Corinthian. The department alleged that, among other violations, the company inflated job placement figures by paying employment agencies to help their students get hired for temporary jobs. State regulators also told Corinthian this month to stop enrolling students, as the company failed to produce financial documents for review.
Corinthian, amid these allegations, sold many of its campuses to a nonprofit education group last year, according to NBC News. But it was unable to unload its remaining 28 schools, including the Alhambra location. Corinthian said that this was a result of "federal and state regulators seeking to impose financial penalties and conditions on buyers"
Debt isn't the only problem that the students face; they may have spent years working towards a degree, only to see it all go to waste. Everest and WyoTech, also run by Corinthian, have a nontraditional accreditation that is tailored for career colleges, making it hard for students to transfer credits to community colleges and four-year universities.
"The last two and a half years I spent going to that school — the trouble, the time, the money I spent on gas — I feel like it was a waste of time," Rena Rivas told the LA Times. Rivas, 25, was working on her criminal justice degree at Everest College-Ontario.
In an open letter to students, Jack Massimino, Chief Executive Officer of Corinthian Colleges, maintained that the schools did their best to serve the students' interests. ”Colleges like ours fill an important role in the broader education system and address a critical need that remains largely unmet by community colleges and other public sector schools,“ wrote Massimino.
The Education Department said it would help the stranded students review their options, and possibly forgive some of their loans. On April 28 and 29, staff from California's Department of Consumer Affairs will be at Corinthian Colleges' 13 Everest and WyoTech campuses to inform students of their options. The department's website provides information on these sessions, as well as updates on the situation.
The Source called Everest College-Alhambra but no one answered.