Corinthian Colleges to Shut Down Remaining 28 Campuses

Posted By Eliana Osborn on May 12, 2015 at 8:26 am
Corinthian Colleges to Shut Down Remaining 28 Campuses

Corinthian Colleges has officially discontinued all of the education services at their 28 campuses, leaving more than 16,000 students with no classes to attend or any hope of finishing their programs.

The collapse of the for-profit education giant comes after a series of run-ins with the US Department of Education. The first sign of trouble came during the summer of 2014, when the Department of Education investigated employment claims for graduates. This led to a 21 day hold on financial aid, precipitating the eventual collapse of the school.

Trying to save students

During Corinthian’s initial turmoil, the government tried to work with the college to keep things running so students could complete programs or transfer elsewhere. By November 2014, 56 of Corinthian’s campuses had been sold to Zenith Education Group. This kept 40,000 students in classes, with only a few properties left to deal with. Zenith took over all aspects of running the ventures, allowing current pupils to continue their education.

Corinthian tried to find a buyer for their remaining campuses, which included WyoTech, Everest College, Heald College, and Everest Institute campuses, but nothing went through. Corinthian blames government fines and regulations for making it impossible to make a deal, stating that buyers were interested but ultimately failed to finalize a sale because of excessive requirements from state and federal entities, as well as a California lawsuit.

Good news for loans

Federal student loan debt can be discharged or cancelled in very specific circumstances, including when your school closes. For Corinthian students who are able to transfer to another school and continue toward a degree or certificate, however, loans remain intact.  Students affected by these closures should contact their lenders and ask about the possibility of discharge. Student borrowers must be sure to keep making payments, even while working on getting paperwork sorted out – if you are in default, you will not be able to change the terms of your loan agreements.

Private loans may also have opportunities for forgiveness, but each provider will have their own requirements.  Much will depend on state regulations and individual company policies.

What next?

Many students started the last week of April in shock as they heard of Corinthian’s ultimate closure.  For those who want to try to continue their education, they’ll need transcripts.  Transferring to another college can be tricky – programs may not match up exactly, so students may lose credits or have to take additional classes in order to finish.

Student meetings were held on all Corinthian’s campuses just a few days after the closure announcement, with presentations about future educational opportunities.  Campuses that changed hands previously are not being closed, and will continue to run under Zenith’s management as they have been this semester.

Many Corinthian students are in California, where clinics and legal services will be available to help students with paperwork and questions.  Information can be found through the California Attorney General, whose office is spearheading much of the legal action involving Corinthian.

Image: Everest College, Milwaukee. Flickr user Jeramny Jannene

Eliana Osborn
Eliana Osborn is an associate English professor at Arizona Western College, with degrees from Brigham Young University and Northern Arizona University. She’s published widely in forums such as The New York Times, the Washington Post, the Christian Science Monitor, and the Chronicle of Higher Education.

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