Ana Venegas / Orange County Register / Zumapress

For-profit Corinthian Colleges to close all remaining campuses

The move comes less than two weeks after for-profit Corinthian Colleges was hit with a $30 million federal fine

Corinthian Colleges will shut down all of its remaining 28 ground campuses as of Monday, displacing about 16,000 students, less than two weeks after the U.S. Department of Education announced it was fining the for-profit institution $30 million for misrepresentation.

In a statement Sunday, the Santa Ana, California-based company said it was working with other schools to help students continue their education. The closures include Heald College campuses in California, Hawaii and Oregon, as well as Everest and WyoTech schools in California, Arizona and New York.

Corinthian was one of the country's largest for-profit educational institutions. It collapsed last summer amid a cash shortage and fraud allegations.

For-profit colleges have been under sharp government scrutiny and pressure for several years, with critics accusing them of putting profit ahead of student achievement. Some graduates have found that their degrees don't win them jobs and that they are left saddled with large student debts. Enrollments in for-profit colleges soared during the recession as job seekers tried to improve their credentials. 

Other for-profit institutions such as Apollo Education Group and Strayer Education have struggled to attract students since a 2010 government crackdown revealed low graduation rates and poor employability of graduates.

The Education Department contends that Corinthian failed to comply with requests to address allegations of falsifying job placement data and altering grades and attendance records. It agreed to sell or close its campuses under pressure from the department.

Earlier in April, the department fined subsidiary Heald College, alleging the school had shown a pattern of falsifying post-graduation employment data. In one instance, the company's Honolulu campus declared a student had found work in her chosen field of accounting, even though administrators knew she was working at Taco Bell, the department said.

Most of the company's former schools have been sold, and Corinthian attempted to sell Heald as well but was blocked by the refusal of California Attorney General Kamala Harris to provide prospective buyers with a release from liability.

The company said Sunday it had been in "advanced negotiations" with several parties to sell the 150-year-old college and allow outside partners to let Everest and WyoTech students continue their education but was unsuccessful.

A group of current and former Corinthian students are petitioning the Education Department to waive their federal student debt based on the alleged misconduct. According to the company's filings, the schools generated $1.2 billion government loans its final year.

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