So far in 2016, a handful of for-profit college operators have announced plans to cease operations, closing hundreds of campuses across the country. Joining the likes of the ITT Technical Institute, Wright Career College, and Brown Mackie College brands, Heritage College and Heritage Institute closed its door abruptly this week.
The for-profit chain, which operated 10 campuses around the country focusing on health sciences like massage therapy and dental hygiene, announced that it would permanently close on Tuesday, giving virtually no notice to students or employees.
Heritage posted a notice on its website that it had decided to cease operations as the company “does not have the cash to continue to run its business.”
“Numerous factors contributed to the circumstances including declining student population and a continued, decreased demand for the services of for-profit schools,” the notice states.
The company, however, made it clear that it did not close based on wrong-doing or any kind of regulatory action.
“We did explore a range of options that would have enabled the campuses to remain open serving students. Unfortunately, the options were not viable and our efforts proved unsuccessful,” the notice continues.
The company, which thanked its students and staff for their work, did not provide advance notice of the closure to those affected, 9 News in Colorado reports.
Instead, they showed up to school on Tuesday to find a letter taped to the doors.
“They could have bene honest, they led us to believe that everything was okay,” one student says. “They made it seem like nothing was wrong. And out of the blue it was gone.”
Students and faculty at Heritage’s campus in Wichita found out about the closure either through the note on the school’s entrance or from fellow students.
“I actually got a text message from a classmate and then I called the school several times and couldn’t get an answer so I decided to come up here,” one student tells KWCH 12.
Students, who paid around $15,000 in tuition a year, were just days or weeks away from completing their studies and are now left with uncertain futures.
“I don’t know where I’m going, I don’t know what’s going on with my loans, I don’t know what to do next,” another student tells KWCH 12.
Another student said he’s now on the hook for $20,000 in federal loans even though he doesn’t have a degree.
“To find out that your school is closed when you’re about to graduate, and you worked really hard for so long, is disappointing,” a student from Florida tells CBS 47, noting that she had taken out nearly $18,000 in student loans over the past two years.
Students out $15,000 after Heritage College abruptly closes days before graduation [9 News]
Heritage College closing all 10 of its campuses [KWCH 12]
Heritage Institute closes its doors in Jacksonville, nationwide [CBS 47]
by Ashlee Kieler via Consumerist