Times are changing in college education. As of today the for-profit Corinthian Colleges network will shutter its remaining 28 campuses, the latest school to succumb to financial pressure amid industry disruption.
The shutdown includes 13 Everest and WyoTech campuses in California, Everest College Phoenix and Everest Online Tempe in Arizona, the Everest Institute in New York, and Heald College. A further 10 satellite campuses across the U.S. will also close according to the organization’s website.
Corinthian’s network of schools once numbered over 100 campuses across the country, with about 74,000 students enrolled. But starting last July, the U.S. Department of Education has forced the company to close or sell off its locations over issues with its high-interest loans and allegations it was misleading students.
Prior to the latest announcement Corinthian had already spent years in court defending itself against charges it had preyed on low-income students with expensive loans. Over the past year, things only got worse for the company, which now faces a slew of lawsuits brought by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, and attorneys general of California, Massachusetts and Wisconsin.
Earlier this month, Corinthian was fined $30 million by the Department of Education for overstating job placement rates for its graduates.
“Instead of providing clear and accurate information to help students choose which college to attend, Corinthian violated students’ and taxpayers’ trust,” Department of Education Under Secretary Ted Mitchell said in a statement.
In February, the government arranged a deal with ECMC Group, allowing the student debt guarantor to purchase some of Corinthian’s campuses. ECMC agreed to forgive $480 million in debt to avoid any liability for Corinthian’s alleged illegal activity.
Once a darling and highly profitable industry, for-profit education companies have struggled to overcome criticism of both their costs and the quality of instruction. The University of Phoenix has lost more than half of its students in the past five years.