Heald College in Salinas abruptly closed its doors Monday morning.
The move came after its parent company, Corinthian Colleges was fined $30 million by the Department of Education. News Channel 5 went to the school and spoke with students who were confused and upset about how they were told.
“They didn’t tell us it was going to be closed,” junior Cynthia Mendoza said. “I found out on an email on Sunday morning that it was closed.”
Mendoza and other confused students were roaming the campus parking lot on Monday morning. Some students were dressed in scrubs.
As students showed up for class, they were greeted by locked doors and a sign saying that the school had been shut down.
The notice said: “It is with great sadness and regret that we must inform you that effective Monday, April 27, Corinthian Colleges, the parent organization for Heald, Everest and Wyotech, and Phoenix will cease operation and that your campus will be closed.”
Mendoza was studying to become a medical assistant. Since the school’s closure she said she feels lost and wonders if she will be able to graduate in October as scheduled.
Tuition is about $15,000 per year, and most students just paid their quarterly tuition.
“Some people told us that they just made a $1,000 payment. I don’t know if we are going to see that money again,” Mendoza said.
We reached out to Corinthian Colleges officials, who would not talk about tuition but said officials will sort that out with students this week.
As teachers showed up for a meeting on campus about their future, they continued to comfort and advise their students.
Mendoza said her professor told her, “that everything is going to be fine to keep my head up, that I’m a good student.”
Lynn Cellars, an instructor at Heald, had this message for students: “Look to other educational institutions that are similar to this and ask them if they will accept these courses and if they will work with you in getting your certificate.”
Mendoza said she’ll use that as motivation to finish her college career.
One of the teachers at Heald told some students that they will have four people at the school this week assigned to help transfer transcripts to other schools and deal with credits and tuition issues.