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Ex-Corinthian Colleges students discouraged from enrolling at another for-profit campus

Officials at WyoTech, a Corinthian Colleges campus, talk to students on the day their campus shut down.
Adolfo Guzman-Lopez/KPCC
Officials at WyoTech, a Corinthian Colleges campus, talk to students on April 27, 2015, the day their campus shut down.

Legal advocates are warning thousands of former students of the now-closed Corinthian Colleges that enrolling in another for-profit school may put their loan forgiveness at risk.

“They may be on the hook for two sets of student loans,” said James Rogers of the Legal Aid Foundation of Los Angeles.

His group held a legal clinic this week to help former Corinthian students apply for the federal Closed School Discharge program to forgive student loans.

On April 27, the day Corinthian’s WyoTech campus in Long Beach closed abruptly, officials at the campus gave students flyers that encouraged them to transfer their credits to the for-profit InterCoast College nearby.

That's a bad idea, according to Rogers, since students may find themselves in even more financial hot water.

Rogers saw some big student debts at the legal clinic: $45,000 in loans for a student about to earn a criminal justice certificate, and $20,000 for a student learning for a massage therapist certificate.

Another program for students of closed colleges can suspend their loan payments for six months. It takes up to six months, Rogers said, for students to find out if their loan forgiveness application has been approved.

“We don’t want them to panic, that there’s more than enough time. And we want them to make sure that they have all the information,” he said.

Santa-Ana based Corinthian Colleges closed 13 schools in California that enrolled about 10,000 students. The company filed for bankruptcy this week.

Another for-profit college, the Pennsylvania-based Education Management Corp. announced this week that it is closing 15 Art Institute campuses across the country, including a 340-student campus in Silicon Valley.  

The company’s Santa Monica campus, and 35 other campuses run by the for-profit, will remain open.

The Legal Aid Foundation has five L.A. offices currently open. Contact numbers are available on the foundation's website.