Corinthian Colleges, a massive for-profit college network, is closing its remaining campuses, meaning 16,000 students have uncertain futures since they
won’t necessarily be able to transfer their credits to another school.
But the closure could ultimately help current students, according to an organiser with the Corinthian 100, a group of graduates who have asked the Department of Education to cancel their student loan debt.
“I think it means that debt strikers have helped shut down a predatory institution … and that’s a pretty big deal,” Corinthian 100 organiser Ann Larson told us.
Latonya Suggs, a former student at an online program of Everest College, a Corinthian school, called her education experience a “scam” and said she’s happy nobody else will enroll in these colleges.
Neither of Suggs’ parents went to college, and she was excited about the opportunity to attend Everest and have the chance to live a better life.
“I was in a vulnerable state and that’s how they [Everest] got me,” Suggs told Business Insider, echoing claims by the federal government that Corinthian intentionally targeted people with low self-esteem.
Suggs earned an associate degree in criminal justice in October but described the quality of the classes as very poor. Initially, she says, Everest officials told her students and teachers would interact closely. That close interaction was very important to her since she was pursuing her education online.
Suggs says she never got that close interaction, which made her class in college algebra particularly tough.
“I was promised that they would provide one-on-one tutoring through Skype, through the telephone,” Suggs said. “That was something I never received.”
Suggs says she felt exposed while at Everest, with none of the typical safety nets that students who go to other colleges have at their disposal. She believes her time spent at Everest was a complete waste, and that she taught herself everything she learned.
If Latonya Suggs’ time at Everest was a waste, it was an expensive waste.
She now has $US32,000 of student loan debt from Everest and no job. She has applied to about 300 jobs in the criminal justice field and has either received no response or has been told she’s not qualified, she said.
When she signed up for Everest, she said, she’d be able to get a job as a probation officer — the job she really wants.
She only realised probation officers need a bachelor’s degree after she graduated and started applying for jobs.
Suggs feels completely deceived by Everest, which has been directing her to security guard positions, she said.
At this point she is willing to take a job as a security guard to pay her bills while she continues to search for other opportunities, but she can’t even get that job.
For now, Suggs lives in low-income housing with her 10-month old son. She’s not thinking about going back to school at this point to pursue a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice. The amount of debt she has makes it impossible.
We reached out to Corinthian to give it a chance to respond to Suggs’ particular allegations. We will update this post if we hear back.
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