May 05, 2015 by Gail Zuagar
Imagine this: You’re 24, have your high school diploma, and have been working in a low-wage job for six years when you see an advertisement for a new career training program at a local, for-profit university. The ad promises to teach the latest, cutting-edge skills that will guarantee you a high-paying career.
You do a little research and decide to apply. As you go through the application process, you are feeling more confident, seeing that the program is a combination of online and classroom courses that offers the flexibility you need to work and go to school. But you are worried about the cost (based on what you earn, you’ll only be able to take one class at a time) and how long it will take to complete the program. So you reach out to an admissions counselor at the university.
The admissions counselor is great. She completely understands your concerns about the cost and lets you know that most of the program’s students receive some kind of financial aid, including student loans. She knows that taking on debt can be a scary prospect but reminds you of the employment placement rates and convinces you that this is a great investment in your future.
Feeling confident and excited, you sign the paperwork to take out the student loans that will allow you to take a full load and complete the program in just one year. You are officially enrolled in Corinthian Colleges and on your way to realizing your dream for a better future.
And that’s when your dream turns into a nightmare.
Just a few months into your program you are informed via email that classes are cancelled for the day — and every other day to follow because Corinthian Colleges’ remaining 28 campuses are closing. (Corinthian already shut down or sold off 56 campuses last year.) You are left with no further information except the thousands of dollars in student loans you have to start paying back.
If this story sounds familiar, it is because it is the real story of more than 16,000 students across the country who were enrolled in Corinthian Colleges as of April 27.
But many of those students are not taking things sitting down — and neither should you. The Corinthian 100 is a group of former Corinthian students who refuse to pay back loans taken out for what have become worthless degrees. The group has brought a great deal of attention to this fight and now you can stand with them: The National Consumer Law Center has started a petition, calling on the U.S. Department of Education to cancel Corinthian students’ loan debt and help give them a fresh start. And from the looks of it, they just might be listening.