History was made today in higher education, and not in a good way. In what is being called the biggest college shut down ever, twenty-eight colleges, all for-profit, are closing today. That displaces some 16,000 students right before finals week, according to USA Today.
Corinthian, which is based in California, sent all students an email with the message. The message said that the school and the government would work to place students in other schools. Students resided at schools in Heald College locations in California, Hawaii and Oregon and at Everest and WyoTech locations in California, Arizona and New York.
“It was very shocking to be told ‘hey, tomorrow, no more school,'” Alexandra Roske, a student at Corinthian’s Heald College in Salida, California, said on a local television station.
“I love school,” said Roske, a single mom with about $18,000 in debt for dental assistant courses she won’t be able to complete or move to work on. “I put everything I had into my academic career to set myself up for a bright future, not only for me but for my family.”
Students explained concern and confusion all over social media, especially those who had not yet read their emails or didn’t make it a habit to check their emails before breakfast.
The news about the closing comes only a few weeks after the US government fined the college system nearly $30 million dollars for lying about job placement and student attendance details. An inquiry found that the schools were actually paying agencies to temporarily hire its students so that they could have higher job placement data to put on official documents.
The school sold off most of their campuses last year, but the 28 that closed today remained.
“We believe that we have attempted to do everything within our power to provide a quality education and an opportunity for a better future for our students,” Chief Executive Jack Massimino said.
The Education Department has said that they will do everything they can to help the students: “What these students have experienced is unacceptable,” it said in a statement. “As Corinthian closes its doors for good, the department will continue to keep students at the heart of every decision we make.”
“I was two months away from getting my degree, and it’s just getting harder because they didn’t give us a warning,” said Mark Corpuz, a student studying at Heald College in Honolulu, Hawaii.
“My friends are pretty angry about it, too,” Corpuz told NBC station KHNL. “Some of them are in the same situation as me. And also some of them, they quit their jobs just to be full-time students.”