Corinthian Colleges will shut down its remaining 28 campuses, displacing about 16,000 students, less than two weeks after the Department of Education announced it was fining the for-profit institution $30 million for misrepresentation. Corinthian was one of the country's largest for-profit educational institutions, and NBC News reports the shutdown may be "the biggest ... in the history of higher education in the United States." Corinthian collapsed last summer amid a cash shortage and fraud allegations. In a statement yesterday, the company based in Santa Ana, Calif., said it was working with other schools to help students continue their education, though as one student put it to KCRA, "It was very shocking to be told 'hey, tomorrow, no more school."
The closures include Heald College campuses in California, Hawaii, and Oregon, as well as Everest and WyoTech schools in California, Arizona, and New York. The Education Department contends that Corinthian failed to comply with requests to address allegations of falsifying job placement data and altering grades and attendance records; Corinthian agreed to sell or close its campuses under pressure from the department. In one instance, Heald College's Honolulu campus declared a student had found work in her chosen field of accounting, even though administrators knew she was working at Taco Bell, the department said. A group of current and former Corinthian students are petitioning the department to waive their federal student debt based on the allegations. The company generated $1.2 billion in government loans its final year.