HAMPTON ROADS, Va. (WAVY/NBC NEWS) — 10 On Your Side has learned Corinthian Colleges is closing its 28 remaining for-profit schools immediately, ending classes for about 16,000 students nationwide. It’s believed to be the biggest shutdown in the history of higher education in the U.S.
Two of the Corinthian College campuses here in Hampton Roads: Everest College in Chesapeake and in Newport News were purchased by Zenith Educational Group in February 2015 and are not affected by the closure.
Corinthian announced the closures in a statement and letter to students Sunday. The company said “largely as a result of recent state and federal regulatory actions, we were unable to complete a sale, and our only option was to close our schools.”
Less than two weeks ago, the U.S. Education Department announced it was fining Corinthian $30 million for misrepresentation.
The department argued that the company failed to address allegations of falsifying job placement data and altering grades and attendance.
Corinthian Colleges ran into financial trouble last year when the education department found that Corinthian locations knowingly misled students and “engaged in numerous deceptive practices.”
The company agreed to sell or close its campuses under pressure from the department. Corinthian sold many of its former campuses to a nonprofit education group last year, but it was unable to sell the remaining 28 colleges, It said “the current regulatory environment would not allow us to complete a transaction with several interested parties that would have allowed for a seamless transition for our students.”
Chief Executive Jack Massimino mentioned in a letter to students Sunday that they were “in the process of trying to arrange partnerships with other colleges and universities that would enable you to complete your studies,” but the company went on to say “those efforts depend to a great degree on cooperation with partnering institutions and regulatory authorities.”
Corinthian said it will be hosting meetings for students to obtain a copy of their transcript and learn about options for continuing their education.
The U.S. Education Department has said it would help the stranded students review their options, including possibly forgiving some of their loans.