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OPEN LETTER: NDP calls on Liberal government to support Everest College students

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Published on February 26, 2015 with No Comments

QUEEN’S PARK — NDP Training, Colleges and Universities critic Peggy Sattler sent the follow letter to the Minister of Training, Colleges and Universities regarding the plight of students following the government’s decision to shutdown Everest College campuses without notice.
Hon. Reza Moridi, MPP
Minister of Training, Colleges and Universities 3rd Floor, Mowat Block
900 Bay Street
Toronto, ON M7A 1L2

Dear Minister Moridi:

I am deeply concerned with the Liberal government’s decision to create chaos for thousands of students at Everest College campuses across Ontario.

As a result of your Ministry’s decision to close all campuses effective February 19 without prior notice, students and their families have been left scrambling to pick up the pieces. Just weeks away from graduation, many students are worried that their time and money have been wasted. They are immensely frustrated that your Ministry did not allow them to complete their studies. Your refusal to ensure that sufficient funds are available to cover refunds and training completion has only added to their concern and confusion.

No student can afford to put their life on hold while the government tries to sort out a mess involving another private career college. This nightmare should have been avoided. Your Ministry was well-aware of the challenges facing this for-profit company and the risks posed to students, yet the Liberal government failed to protect the interests of students.

In recent years, the U.S.-based parent company of Everest Colleges Canada, Inc. has faced serious legal allegations and financial restrictions. In 2013, the Attorney General of California filed a lawsuit against Corinthian Colleges, Inc. and its subsidiaries alleging false and predatory advertising, intentional misrepresentations to students, and securities fraud. Additional investigations were launched by the Securities and Exchange Commission and more than a dozen state attorneys general. On June 12, 2014, the United States Department of Education imposed increased financial oversight and restrictions on Corinthian Colleges, Inc. as a result of the company’s repeated failure to provide information requested by the federal government. And on September 16, 2014, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau sued Corinthian Colleges, Inc. for predatory lending, alleging a “pervasive culture” to deceive and harass students who relied on private loans to pay the high tuition fees charged by Corinthian Colleges, Inc.

To the benefit of American students, the Obama administration understood immediately that these investigations, lawsuits, and restrictions could compromise the ability of Corinthian Colleges Inc. and its subsidiaries to deliver upon its obligations to students. As a result, on June 23, 2014, the Department of Education reached a Memorandum of Understanding with Corinthian Colleges, Inc. to “protect students by avoiding immediate closure of Corinthian Colleges.” The first agreed principle of the Memorandum is to ensure that students be given an opportunity to complete their education without material interruption, change or additional cost. On July 3, 2014, the Department reached an operating plan with Corinthian Colleges, Inc. to sell eighty-five campuses and “teach out” an additional twelve campuses where students would be able to complete their degrees without interruption.

For many months, your Ministry has been aware of these serious issues and the risks they posed to Ontario students. On July 8, 2014, it was revealed publicly that all fourteen Everest College campuses in Ontario were for sale, and a spokesperson for Everest College claimed that the company was working with Ontario regulators to ensure students can continue their programs. Repeatedly, the company asserted that students in Ontario did not need to worry because there would be no impact on their studies. Clearly, this was not the case.

Unfortunately, rather than protecting students, your Ministry did not take adequate steps to inform students of the risks of attending Everest College or to ensure that a wind-down of operations would not adversely impact current students. Instead of following the lead of the Obama administration and protecting students from an immediate closure, your Ministry’s decision has disrupted the lives of thousands of students who are left holding the bill.

In light of the failure of the Liberal government and your Ministry to adequately protect the interests of students, I urge you to take immediate steps to ensure that the needs of all students are met through training completion funding or refunds, with costs borne by Everest Colleges Canada, Inc. rather than Ontario families.

I look forward to your prompt action.


Peggy Sattler, MPP
NDP Critic for Training, Colleges and Universities


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