Nearly 10,000 students across the country are facing an uncertain future following the sudden collapse of another for-profit college system this week.
After a summer which saw the dramatic collapse of Corinthian Colleges, fellow for-profit education company Anthem Education is rapidly closing its doors after the company filed for bankruptcy this week.
Prior to filing for bankruptcy, Anthem Education had no fewer than 34 different campuses around the country. That number is in rapid free fall, with nine campuses shutting down Friday after the Department of Education failed to approve a deal that would temporarily keep them open.
Anthem’s collapse was a long time coming. A U.S. Senate investigation into for-profit schools found that company’s nationwide enrollment fell from almost 22,000 students to under 13,000 from 2006 to 2010, a decline that has continued since then. The company was losing millions each year, and over the summer, several campuses announced plans for major staff layoffs.
Despite the long decline, Anthem’s actual collapse has been sudden, with campuses suddenly closing their doors and leaving students in a lurch. A campus in Brookfield, Wisconsin, for instance, abruptly closed last week without warning when it was originally scheduled to stay in operation until late September. According to Inside Higher Education, the closure even took the school’s administrator by surprise. Only after campuses were compelled to shut down without warning did the company’s board decide to pull the plug and file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy.
Sudden campus closures are proving a burden to Anthem’s students, who are being stuck halfway through their programs and unprepared to try transferring their credits to another school. One student at a Las Vegas campus told a local news organization that she had spent over $15,000 seeking a degree, and it might all be a waste now.
“I have no idea if I’m going to be able to graduate,” said Monique Parker, who wanted to be a pharmacy technician.
As is the case with many for-profit schools, most Anthem students were relying heavily on federal student loans to pay for their education. The bankruptcy leaves them in the hole with loans for degrees they are no longer actively working towards. Additionally, the company’s bankruptcy filing means that even at campuses that have yet to close, students can no longer draw upon on federal student loans to attend.
It is possible to discharge student loans when a student’s school closes, but doing so requires action by borrowers, who may be unaware such an option exists.
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