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Controversial For-Profit College with RI Ties Closing 23 Schools

Saturday, November 17, 2012


Career Education Corp., the company that runs a nationwide chain of for-profit colleges including Sanford-Brown Institute in Cranston will close 23 schools across the country later this year, according to its quarterly earnings report.

The company saw a sharp decrease in new student enrollment (down 22.3 percent) and reported losses of $30.8 million in the third quarter, which ended Sept. 30. The closing of the schools will result in approximately 900 lost jobs nationwide.

“We are taking the difficult step of closing campuses and reducing our workforce because these measures are essential to advancing the turnaround of Career Education,” Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer Steven H. Lesnik said. “To move forward successfully, we must align the organization to the new market realities in private postsecondary education.”

The company, which runs 90 schools throughout the country, has not announced which locations it plans to close.

Last year, the company came under fire after admitted that some of its schools were not accurately reporting the percentage of graduates who a got a job within the field they studied. At the time, the company confirmed that an independent investigation of its schools’ job placement reporting practices found that some of the schools in the network were improperly reporting the number of students who found work after graduation.

"We have uncovered the fact that what were going to be reported as placements in a number of cases and a number of places were not genuine placements according to our standards as a company,” Lesnik said at the time.

The Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools (ACICS) requires schools to have at least a 65 percent job placement rate. In the event that an institution reports numbers lower than that threshold, it may be subject to increased accreditation oversight, which may include increased reporting requirements, a requirement that the institution submit a corrective action plan or undergo an on-site evaluation, or restrictions on the addition of new locations or programs, according to a press release issued by Career Education Corp.

Last year, the company acknowledged that just 13 of its 49 ACICS-accredited Health Education and Art & Design segment schools met ACICS’ 65 percent minimum placement rate standard.

Based on 2010 job placement numbers, the Sanford-Brown Institute’s Cranston campus reported having a 75.93 campus employment rate. But the ACICS rate was just 54.40 percent, significantly below the minimum standard.

Cranston campus opened in 2010 and focuses exclusively on the healthcare field. It was previously the Gibbs College, which closed at the end of 2009.


Dan McGowan can be reached at dmcgowan@golocalprov.com. Follow him on Twitter: @danmcgowan.


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