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College campus in Cross Lanes to close

By By Jack Suntrup
CHRIS DORST | Gazette The Everest Institute in Cross Lanes is closing.
CHRIS DORST | Gazette Everest Institute student Wanda Daniels waits for her bus ride back to Charle

Staff writer

The Everest Institute in Cross Lanes will be closing, though current students will be allowed to finish their coursework.

Students at the Cross Lanes campus said Tuesday they’d been told that they will be allowed to finish their coursework, but they hadn’t been given much more information.

The campus is among a dozen that for-profit Corinthian Colleges Inc. announced Tuesday would close. About 85 other campuses in the United States will have to be sold, the company announced.

Corinthian spokesman Kent Jenkins Jr. said that students who enrolled after June 23 will be offered a refund, while other students will be able to finish their coursework. Any refunds for students enrolled before June 23 will be dealt with on a case-by-case basis, he said.

Jenkins said he didn’t know how many employees would lose their jobs when the campus officially closes.

“I guess once everybody graduates, they’ll close up,” said Wanda Daniels, a medical assistant student at the Cross Lanes campus who plans to graduate in January. “I hate to see them close. It’s an opportunity to better yourself and achieve your goals.”

Aimee Switzer, the Cross Lanes campus president, declined to comment, citing company policy that media inquiries must be handled through Corinthian College’s Santa Ana, California-based office.

The demise of the campus was due in part to the company not being able to produce enough documents to satisfy the U.S. Department of Education, Jenkins said. The department has questions about falsified job placement data used in marketing claims to prospective students, and allegations of altered grades and attendance.

Jenkins said the decision to close certain campuses, including Cross Lanes, was a financial one, not because of any campus wrongdoing that might have been alleged.

Last month, the department put Corinthian on heightened financial monitoring with a 21-day waiting period for federal funds. That was after it failed to provide adequate paperwork and comply with the department’s requests to address concerns about the company’s practices.

Jenkins said the company had devoted 10 staff members to a document search, but now that it’s clear the department wants more, 100 staff members have been devoted to the search.

“It’s an issue of how many documents are being produced and how fast,” Jenkins said.

He said that after the government withheld funds, which make up a significant amount of the company’s operating budget, Corinthian had to reach an agreement with the department. Under the agreement, the company will be forwarded the funds, but 85 U.S. campuses will have to be sold. About two dozen campuses in the U.S. and Canada, including the Cross Lanes campus, will be closed down.

The other campuses that are closing are in Bensalem, Pennsylvania; Chelsea, Massachusetts; Eagan, Minnesota; Fort Worth, Texas; Grand Rapids, Michigan; Kalamazoo, Michigan; Merrillville, Indiana; Salt Lake City, Utah; St. Louis; Silver Spring, Maryland; and McLean, Virginia.

The Associated Press contributed to this report. Reach Jack Suntrup at jacksuntrup@wvgazette.com or 304-348-5100.


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