Career Colleges of America in California is rumored to be on the brink of shutting down because of an accreditation issue. The school opened 23 years ago and operates on three campuses. This is not the first time a for-profit college has shuttered and it won’t be the last, but if you’ve borrowed to finance an education at one of these schools, you need to act quickly to protect yourself.
For Profit School Closures
This time last year, the American Career Institute, with locations in Maryland and Massachusetts, closed its doors leaving students on the cusp of graduation stuck with credits that wouldn’t transfer to other schools and without many alternatives. Other recent closures include Brooks College in California, Crown College in Washington, Connecticut School of Broadcasting in Chicago (with national offices), Falcon Airlink in North Carolina and Dana College in Nebraska.
What to Do If Your School Closes
If your school closed while you were still enrolled and you couldn’t complete your certificate or degree program, or if you were attending the school within 90 days of its closure, you may qualify for a discharge of your student loans. If you completed the course of study, were able to transfer credits to another school, or you complete your program at another school, you will still be stuck with your student loans. To find out if you qualify for discharge, click here for more info. You will have to get a loan discharge application from your loan servicer – each one has a unique form.
Alternatives to For Profit Colleges
If a traditional four year university experience isn’t for you and you’re considering a career that you’ll need technical training for, there are much better ways to get it than to opt for a for-profit career school. Most states have public technical and vocational schools that are far more affordable than high-price, privately-run schools.
For instance, Texas State Technical College is state run and has 12 locations across Texas. School costs a few thousand dollars a year and if you live at home while you attend, your costs can be quite low. Many states also offer grants and scholarships for first time students and adults returning to school. By comparison, for-profit career schools can cost $20,000 and up per year for the same (or worse) results.
Minimize Borrowing When Possible
For-profit colleges consume a huge share of federal financial aid and more students at for-profit colleges are taking on debt. 83% of private for-profit school students take out student loans and 73% access federal Pell grants – more than public and non-profits combined. But state and local grants and grants from the institutions themselves are mostly non-existent.
This means the schools aren’t putting their money where their mouths are and are not investing in their students. This is a huge red flag. Opting for a state run vocational/technical school will help minimize the necessity for student loans. We’ve written before that even for those students that graduate from for-profit schools (and their completion rates are notoriously low) may struggle to find a job because of inadequate training, not being qualified for certifications or failure to pass certification exams.
No matter what type of school you attend or graduated from – public, private, for-profit or non-profit – if you borrowed to finance your education, Tuition.io can help. Sign up for our free student loan management tool that enables you to track all of your loans in one easy interface – whether you took out federal loans, private loans or a combination. Read our blog for tips, news and tidbits on student loans, and check out our Student Loan Help Center for guides and information on alternate repayment plans and student loan terminology.