ST. LOUIS (AP) — A for-profit college that operates several Midwestern campuses has suddenly closed, citing mounting financial problems.
Vatterott Education Centers closed on Monday. In a letter to students, the suburban St. Louis-based college cited a U.S. Department of Education decision to limit Vatterott’s participation in federal financial aid programs.
“Vatterott is unable to continue operation under these restrictions, and consequently, is unable to complete the aforementioned sale,” the letter stated. “The Department imposed these restrictions despite the presence of an interested buyer and our clear communication that such restrictions would result in the school’s closure.”
The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that the federal agency’s decision doomed a pending sale of most of Vatterott’s campuses to another for-profit education company, Education Corporation of America . It also closed its campuses this month.
Vatterott operated 15 campuses specializing in culinary arts, automotive trades, allied health and music production, among other areas. It employed about 950 people, including 500 in Missouri.
In November, the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges voted to revoke Vatterott’s accreditation, ruling that the school failed to demonstrate successful student achievement.
Vatterott’s potential buyer has had its own financial problems. Education Corporation of America announced this month that it too was shuttering all campuses nationwide, after its accrediting agency suspended approval. One of the largest for-profit college chains in the U.S., it had enrolled roughly 20,000 students across more than 70 campuses.
Legal documents said Education Corporation of America was unable to make payments on its debt and rental fees due to declining student enrollment. It faced eviction at several campuses.
Vatterott officials told students they were working to store their permanent records and identify other schools that could accept them on transfer.
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