Other community colleges offering help after Vatterott College closures

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Students and teachers across the country are trying to figure out what to do after Vatterott Educational Centers suddenly closed down their colleges. That includes three campuses in the Mid-South area. All three of them had been on probation since September.

James Horton didn’t believe it when he heard L’Ecole Culinaire was closing.

“I figured I’d come up here and check it out for myself and yeah, they’re closed,” he said.

He’s two weeks shy of getting his culinary certificate and is figuring out how them closing will affect that.

“They didn’t really let us know they were fixing to shut the doors down. I think that came as a surprise to everybody.”

L’Ecole is one of 19 campuses nationwide Vatterott Educational Centers announced they were closing. They’re also closing two Vatterott Colleges in Memphis.

The college said they were going to be sold, but then the Department of Education added new restrictions to the school’s participation in the federal aid program, which stopped them from moving forward.

It’s caused the phones to ring off the hook over at Southwest Tennessee Community College.

“My immediate concern was how do we help? How do we step in as a community college to be of assistance to these students?” said Vice President of Student Affairs Jacqueline Faulkner.

Southwest is hosting an information session at their location on Macon Cove for Vatterott students so they can meet with financial and academic advisors. It’ll be this Thursday,  Dec. 20, at the Bornblum Library Auditorium from 4:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m.

“We will have faculty members, deans, chairs who will look at each of those credits to see what programs they align with here at Southwest and what credits we will possibly be able to transfer,” said Faulkner.

She said students could transfer as soon as next month.

Vatterott is temporarily keeping on some staff members to do administrative work, like store records. They said they’ll post updates online soon.

The Tennessee Higher Education Commission says they’re working with the U.S. Department of Education to figure out what steps to take next. They’d be the investigative agency for any complaints from students. No formal complaints have been made so far.

We also reached out to the U.S. Department of Education to see if there are any ongoing investigations. They said they’re going to get back to us.

For more information, go here.

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