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Career Colleges of America closes; teachers, students in limbo

Students are outraged after a career college suddenly shuts its doors, affecting three Southern California campuses.
January 9, 2014 12:00:00 AM PST
Students are outraged after a career college suddenly shuts its doors. The closure affects hundreds of students at three campuses in Southern California. Administrators aren't talking, but students and teachers are.

The future for hundreds of students and teachers at Career Colleges of America is in limbo. According to students and staff, the school is in deep financial trouble and may be forced to close.

"Tomorrow is my last day of class. I don't even know if I'm going to be able to take my final, if I'm going to graduate," said student Eileen Murdock.

"We're finding out that the school is not accredited, that this has been going on for months," said student Jessica Garcia. "The teachers haven't gotten paid. So we don't know what to do."

The California Bureau for Private Postsecondary Education, part of the Department of Consumer Affairs, confirms it launched an investigation of Career Colleges of America (CCA) three weeks ago after it became clear the school couldn't pay its teachers.

Since then, federal grant and loan money has been withheld from CCA, and the school's cash-flow is being managed by the U.S. Department of Education, essentially freezing their accounts.

According the CCA website, the for-profit private school has been in operation for 24 years, with campuses in Los Angeles, South Gate and San Bernardino. As many as 850 students are registered with CCA for medical technician training they may never fully receive, an education for which they paid $20,000 to $36,000.

Eyewitness News tried to talk to school administrators with CCA in South Gate Thursday afternoon, but they wouldn't allow access inside and did not return phone calls.

Teachers say they haven't been paid since November, and don't know if they ever will be. Teachers and students still don't know if classes will resume.

"There's 395 employees, close to 400, between the three campuses that have not been paid," said CCA instructor Anthony Romo. "All of us are in the same boat."

Students were told Thursday the school would be open on Friday. But most of the teachers have already quit.

There is some recourse for students. The California Bureau for Private Postsecondary Education can help students recover tuition money, get a refund, or have their federal loans discharged.


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