After Vocational School Closes, Debt-Laden Students Decry Fraud

By Forde, Dana | Diverse Issues in Higher Education, April 17, 2008 | Go to article overview
Save to active project

After Vocational School Closes, Debt-Laden Students Decry Fraud

Forde, Dana, Diverse Issues in Higher Education

In the wake of Harrison Career Institute's closure in 2007, many students have been left paying back loans without a diploma.

Delaware resident Kim Cawley had dreams of becoming a cardiovascular technician. And in 2005, she enrolled in pharmacology classes at the Wilmington, Del., campus of the Harrison Career Institute.

In its prime, HCI had more than a dozen campuses across the Delaware, New Jersey and Pennsylvania region. But a host of financial problems and decreasing student enrollment forced the institute to dose 13 of its campuses, including the one in Wilmington.

Although the campus permanently shut its doors in 2007, Cawley says she's still being forced to repay about $10,000 in student loans. Cawley is one of hundreds of students - ineluding many minorities - across the country who have acquired student loan debt with the end goal of earning a much-desired credential.

But Cawley says she shouldn't have to pay for a credential she didn't receive.

"I'm paying on student loans, and I didn't get a certification or diploma or anything ... I'm sending them money for education purposes that I did not get, and I feel that it's fraud," says Cawley. "The Harrison Career Institute just shut its doors and walked away/'

Patrick Dunn, a state-approving agent for private business and trade schools for the Delaware Department of Education, adds that about 100 students were unable to finish their studies or receive diplomas. However, he has been successful in guiding about a dozen students through the federal loan forgiveness process since the school closure.

"Unfortunately, there were several former students in that situation who were still faced with a loan," says Dunn. "I was not able to help everyone 100 percent"

HCI and dozens of other vocational and technical schools have closed in recent years amidst claims of fiscal mismanagement, accreditation struggles and other issues, according to recent reports. HCI officials could not be reached for comment

In the event of a school closure, officials at the US. Department of Education say that they first work with the respective state agency that licensed the school or institution to provide what is called a "teach-out" program. As part of this program, the closing institution and the state arrange for students to use any federal money they receive to continue their education at a neighboring institution.

Dunn says that the Delaware Department of Education was able to officer a teach-out program, and at least 30 HCI students were able to enroll in another local trade school and finish medical-related studies.

"The objective is to always try to help the students complete their education," says Stephanie Babyak, an Education Department spokeswoman.

If a teach-out is not possible, students may file a "dosed school discharge" and submit a discharge application to the DOE to absolve any outstanding federal loans, Babyak says. Federal loans may be forgiven if a student was enrolled when the school closed and "could not complete the program because of the closure," according to the DOE Web site.

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
Loading One moment ...
Project items
Cite this article

Cited article

Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited article

After Vocational School Closes, Debt-Laden Students Decry Fraud


Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

While we understand printed pages are helpful to our users, this limitation is necessary to help protect our publishers' copyrighted material and prevent its unlawful distribution. We are sorry for any inconvenience.
Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.

Are you sure you want to delete this highlight?