Apr 30, 2012
ACT College, a for-profit vocational college in Northern Virginia, suddenly shut down in early April. Some students were left weeks away from graduating, unable to transfer their credits to other colleges, and tens of thousands of dollars in debt.
A letter to the students had been taped to the door in the early morning hours. The letter said that the school had lost its federal financial aid certification, and therefore there was “no choice” but to close.
One student was $21,000 in debt after five months at the college. She said, “We’re out of our financial aid …. People are not accepting our credits from here to transfer (to other colleges), so we have to start all over.”
Like all for-profit colleges, ACT College receives the majority of its revenue from federal financial aid.
The U.S. Department of Education says that this college currently owes students more than $250,000 of unused financial aid that should have been refunded to them. And that the college changed and destroyed records to cover up this theft.
So is the U.S. Department of Education forcing the school to return the $250,000 to the students? Or prosecuting those responsible?
And what about reimbursing the students for classes that they took – but which won’t lead to a degree because the school’s credits won’t transfer?
No, just the opposite! The U.S. Department of Education simply cut off future financial aid payments to ACT. The college could even open up again using a different name and location.
The government knows very well that corruption and outrageous profits at the expense of students are rampant in this industry. It’s the very reason for-profit colleges exist. The U.S. Department of Education simply hands the owners fistfuls of money, letting them charge whatever they please as tuition. The government looks the other way as working class students receive a substandard education, with credits that won’t be accepted at accredited schools like private universities, state colleges and community colleges.
The students, on the other hand, will be chased down and their paychecks garnished if they fail to pay back their loans. A hard lesson learned for 300 students at ACT College.