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The Charleston Post and Courier reports that the fate of the Charleston School of Law is uncertain, with its owners stating that additional information about the school's future will not be made known until next week.  

According to a law school spokesman, the school's owners "are working diligently to see it preserved and improved by someone or some entity, either profit or nonprofit, that actually has the experience to run a law school and is capable of obtaining a license from the South Carolina Commission on Higher Education and accreditation by the American Bar Association.”

The school has been embroiled in controversy for nearly a year following disclosure that a sale to a for-profit company was being explored.

A report earlier this month in the Post and Courier indicated that the school was considering not enrolling students for the fall 2015.
 
 
Sweet Briar College -- now slated for closure  if its leaders have their way -- observed what may have been  its final graduation ceremony on Saturday.

The Virginia college's president "reluctantly"  skipped commencement, explaining that as the architect of the dramatic plan announced earlier this year to close the school, he believed he might be a cause for disruption at the event.  "In the last 24 hours, it has come to my attention that there are faculty members and alumnae who have threatened, sometimes quite publicly, to repeatedly disrupt the ceremony tomorrow should I preside,” James F. Jones Jr. said in an e-mail sent Friday to Sweet Briar students and faculty.  

At the commencement, some faculty member silently protested by wearing ribbons bearing the school's pink and green colors. 

The school's commencement speaker, Mayor Teresa Tomlinson of Columbus, Georgia, who graduated from the college in 1987, firmly supported the cause of those attempting to keep the school open.  "Women's colleges have never been more relevant, and apparently not everybody is clued into that," she told the crowd, according to published reports.  "This college needs to continue."

Litigation is pending to determine whether Sweet Briar will be allowed to close as announced by its leadership, or whether efforts by alumnae, faculty and students to grant the school a reprieve will change anything.  

The New York Times reported that the legal cases are moving quickly, with oral arguments set before the Supreme Court of Virginia on June 4.

 
 
Another for-profit school, North Carolina-based Brookstone College of Business, has suddenly closed in the face of increased federal regulation.

Brookstone announced on May 13 that it was ceasing operations and discontinuing classes at its Greensboro and Charlotte campuses, where approximately 200 students were pursuing programs.  Its offerings included programs in accounting system technology, office administration and medical assisting.

The Charlotte Observer reported that Brookstone "cited the impact of federal regulations that aim to make career-training programs prove they lead to jobs and the ability to repay student debt."  

Brookstone announced that it would work to with other institutions to provide "continuing education opportunities," according to Triad Business Journal.

As of May 14, Brookstone had been less than clear on its website about its demise.  A posting on May 11 merely announced that classes would be be canceled on May 12 "due to a faculty and staff in-service training" in Charlotte.  

If you are a student or faculty member with concerns about Brookstone that you wish to share with CollegeWatchdogs,net, you may do so by calling 877-540-8333 or completing this form.

 
 
Fifteen Art Institutes campuses -- including the Art Institute of Michigan in Troy attended by about 300 students -- are closing as its owner, Education Management Corp., continues to consolidate during a time of heightened federal scrutiny of for-profit colleges.

The Art Institute campuses closing in the near future appear to include those campuses in Atlanta, Boston,  Cincinnati, Fort Worth, Houston, Jacksonville, Kansas City, New York, Salt Lake City, Washington, D.C., and Wisconsin. 

About 1,200 employees, including 200 immediately, will either lose their jobs or find employment elsewhere within the company, according to a  report in the Pittsburgh Tribune.   

Federal rules going into effect this summer will require for-profit colleges to demonstrate that they sufficiently prepare students for "gainful employment"  in order to remain eligible for federal student financial aid, which is the lifeblood of most for-profit schools.  

The Tribune story reported that the Art Institutes are "particularly susceptible" to these new standards  because of the types of programs they offer, such as culinary or animation, according to Trace Urdan, an analyst at Wells Fargo Securities.  The low wages that culinary students would earn as prep cooks wouldn't immediately justify the high cost of their educations, Urdan said.  

 
 
In another development a heightened regulation of the for-profit school industry where federal financial aid available to schools will soon be tied to gainful employment statistics, Illinois-based Career Education Corp. has announced plans to close all of its 14 Sanford -Brown College campuses  across the country.

"Declining student enrollment and financial losses at our Career College campuses, combined with the ‘Gainful Employment’ regulations issued last year factored into our decision,” said Career Education Corp. interim CEO Ron McCray in a statement. “In making this decision, we have chosen a path of gradual discontinuation, or teach-outs, rather than closing schools immediately. We are committed to both the academic and personal success of the students enrolled in our programs. Teach-outs minimize potential negative impacts on faculty, students and staff members.”

According to its website, Career Education currently operates Sanford-Brown campuses in cities including  Atlanta, Brooklyn, Chicago, Dallas, Fort Lauderdale, Houston, Jacksonville, Las Vegas, New York City, Orlando, Seattle, San Antonio and Tampa, as well as online.

The Sanford-Brown closures are expected to impact about 8,600 students, according to Crain's Chicago Business.

The company also announced that it is attempting to sell Briarcliffe College, Brooks Institute and Missouri College.    It had previously announced that its interest in selling its Le Cordon Bleu Colleges of Culinary Arts schools as well.

 
 
With the notorious Corinthian College's demise now complete, thousands of students find themselves with massive debt and unresolved questions regarding programs that they now cannot complete.

On April 26, Corinthian suddenly announced that it would be immediately shuttering its remaining 28 campuses, bringing to a close a year-long fall from a perch as one of the country's largest for-profit career college chains to the most glaring example of an industry rife with problems for failing to deliver on promises of job placement and bright futures with expensive programs.

Corinthian ran chains of for-profit schools, including Everest Institute, Wyotech and Heald College.  Last June, the Education Department cut off the schools' main source of income -- federal student aid.  The move forced Corinthian to sell or close all but a small group of its campuses.  More recently, the government imposed a $30 million fine on the company for allegedly misrepresenting placement rights.  And the federal Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is suing the school, seeking $500 million for allegedly steering students into high-interest private loans.

“Corinthian enticed students to enroll in its schools and to take on enormous debt. Their profit model was to cheat their students,” said Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), at a forum following the Corinthian closing, according to a Washington Post report. “Corinthian was shut down, but what about the tens of thousands of students who were taken in by the lies? They are still paying those loans back.”

Former students may have a basis for seeking discharges on the massive loans that they incurred for programs they now cannot complete, but the process is slow and uncertain.  If you are a student with concerns about next steps that you wish to share with attorneys at College Watchdogs, you may do so here or by calling 877-540-8333.





 
 
The future of Wilberforce University hangs in the balance following the completion of a recent three-day visit by its accrediting agency that is attempting to determine whether the school's accreditation should be withdrawn.

Wilbeforce, the nation's oldest private historcally black institution of higher education, is currently operating under a show-cause order from the Higher Learning Commission requiring the school to demonstrate why its accreditation should not be withdrawn for alleged non-compliance with standards in areas including  academic programs, finances, and physical plant.   Without accreditation, Wilberforce students would cease to be eligible for federal financial aid, among other problems.

A three-day site visit by the HLC to Wilberforce last month was designed to examine whether the school's millions of dollars in upgrades -- and more than 3,000 pages of documentation submitted by Wilberforce to show improvements -- during the last year have sufficed to alleviate the accrediting body's concerns.

According to a report in Business Insider, the battle to save Wilberforce is being led by a new president, Algeania Freeman, who took the helm at the school in September 2014.

 
 
Legal efforts to block the planned closure of Sweet Briar College are continuing as the school enters its potentially final month of classes after more than a century as a venerable college for women in Virginia.
A group of more than 120 faculty and staff members have filed a motion in one court case supporting the efforts of Amherst County Attorney Ellen Boyer to enjoin the closure and plans to disburse the college's charitable funds.
Separately, more than 50 faculty members have filed a lawsuit challenging their dismissal at the end of the school year, seeking to stop the closure, and requesting more than $40 million in damages.  
Sweet Briar's president shocked students, faculty, alums and the higher education community in March by announcing that a strategic plan had led to the conclusion that the school was not viable in the long term and instead should close at the end of the semester.
According to The Washington Post, "The faculty lawsuit argues that the college does not, in fact, have a financial emergency. During the past five years, the case asserts, net assets rose from $126 million to $135 million while the endowment grew from $85 million to $95 million. During the same time period, according to the case, debt dropped from $42 million to $25 million."