WASHINGTON, Nov. 3 (UPI) -- Heritage College, a healthcare training college with 10 campuses nationwide, abruptly announced it is closing its doors, citing financial problems, declining enrollment and a decrease in demand for for-profit schools.
Students at Heritage College didn't know the school had planned to shutter operations until they arrived for class and saw notes taped to doors. Heritage, which officially closed Nov. 1, had programs in dental assistance, fitness training and pharmacy technician, among others.
The school is the latest for-profit institution to buckle under increasing regulatory demands aimed at tamping unethical and sometimes illegal practices at some schools. Heritage said it "did not close due to wrongdoing or a forced closure by a regulatory body, and we did explore a range of options that would have enabled the campuses to remain open serving students. Unfortunately, the options were not viable and our efforts proved unsuccessful."
"The reason for the campus closures is that Heritage does not have the cash to continue to run its business," the school said. "Numerous factors contributed to the circumstances including declining student population and a continued, decreased demand for the services of for-profit schools."
Students, many who took out private and federal loans to finance their educations, were left scrambling. In October, the Obama administration announced new rules to help disenfranchised borrowers get their federal loans forgiven in the case of fraud or misrepresentation by the school. But, even with that, students worried about their future.
"So I don't know if I owe the government $20,000 now even though I didn't get a degree out of this or what," said Joshua Anderson, a Heritage student in Kansas.
Heritage joins ITT Technical Institute, Wright Career College and Brown Mackie College in shutting doors this past year. In the case of ITT, which operated more than 130 campuses in 39 states, the U.S. Education Department cut federal funding after claims the school used deceptive practices to enroll and keep students.