Shutdown of Irvine law school leaves students with uncertain future

IRVINE, Calif. (KABC) -- Students at Western State College of Law in Irvine are anxiously waiting to see what happens next to their school.

More than 450 students, including Army veteran Steve Finley, don't know how much longer the school will stay open, and what that might mean for them.

"Supposed to be my last year. We don't know if we're going to get credits for this semester and we if we do get those credits, we don't know if they're going to transfer anywhere," said Finley, a third-year law student.

Dream Center Education Holdings owned the law school and higher education locations all over the country. They are part of the chain campuses that are part of Art Institute and Argosy University.

Financial woes prompted the company to enter into a receivership, and shutter dozens of campuses.

The law school remains open, but if it closes, many students say they'll lose at least a year of work.

"For us second-year law students, we're kind of stuck in this middle place because there's no other options," said Briana Roy, a second-year law student.

To make things worse, most students have not yet received their financial aid.

The Student Bar Association set up a food pantry for people whom they say are choosing rent over groceries.

Students also set up a GoFundMe page to help classmates cover costs.

"One of the students said, 'Hey look I've only got three dollars in my bank account, I can't eat,'" said Graham Thomas, a third-year law student. "And law school is tough as it is."

The receiver for Dream Center did not respond to our request for comment.

But in the past, they have said they're working to provide options for students including transfers or loan discharge.

Students say they know what they want. "Find us a path and give us some kind of way to be able to sleep at night because not knowing is perhaps the worst thing about this entire situation," said Finley.

Many of the students say they believe the school will stay open until at least March 22. They've also been told if that is the case, many of the third-year law students will be able to graduate.
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