DailyNews, January 27, 2014. SAN BERNARDINO >> A local trade school that had ended classes because of apparent financial difficulties has closed, according to the agency in charge of overseeing it.
Students say they learned of the closure of Career Colleges of America, which taught a total of 800 students at campuses in San Bernardino, South Gate and Los Angeles, through a letter that only some of them received.
“CCA is officially ceasing all classes at all campuses,” says the letter, dated Jan. 24. “As such the only option available is for our students to transfer to another college. In so doing we will try to help and you should seek to have the receiving school accept your earned credits and agree to charge you no more than you would owe to CCA to complete the program.”
The California Bureau of Private Postsecondary Education, which provides private trade institutions with certificates to operate in California, said earlier this month that it was investigating money problems at the school and that a closure was likely.
Emily Ferguson of Crestline learned of the closure from a friend. She called the Bureau of Private Post Secondary Education, who confirmed the closure.
Ferguson said she was at the end of eight months of study in a 17-month surgical technology course when students learned of classes being canceled. American College of Healthcare, another trade school located in Riverside, offered to take on students from Career Colleges of America.
Ferguson is thankful for being able to transfer credits and attend school, but her 50-mile commute is now 100 miles round-trip and her graduation has been pushed from summer to fall.
“I think it’s a really horrible situation and it’s kind of a nightmare,” she said. “I think the school hasn’t handled it very well because this has been going on for a long time and they hid it from the students. All the students were put out. ... Now they have to go to a new school, and take classes all over again and pay more money to get their career going. It’s just a really bad situation.”
Students should call 888-370-7589 or visit bppe.ca.gov to see if they are eligible for the tuition recovery fund, said Cristina Valdivia, spokeswoman for the state Department of Consumer Affairs, which oversees the bureau.
“If a student who attended that school contacted the bureau, we can help them with the tuition,” Valdivia said. “Tuition recovery fund is a program that helps the student get a refund back from the school, once the school has closed.”
They might also be able to discharge federal loans, she said.
Teachers at the San Bernardino campus say they haven’t been paid since November.