Anthem College closes two Valley campuses

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by Amanda Goodman

Bio | Email | Follow: @AGoodmanReports

azfamily.com

Posted on August 28, 2014 at 6:47 PM

Updated Friday, Aug 29 at 3:29 PM

UPDATE: The deadline for United States Department of Education approval for the sale of 14 Anthem College campuses including two in the Valley has come and gone without approval.

Friday, those two Phoenix campuses, located at 9215 North Black Canyon Highway and 1515 E. Indian School Road, closed their doors.

3TV was there as movers arrived to haul items out of the buildings on Friday.

Anthem College sent 3TV the following statement,

"Despite our best efforts, Anthem Education was unable to secure timely Department of Education approval to complete the sale of 9 of its campuses to International Education Corporation (IEC). We are disappointed in this lack of regulatory approval, and as a result have been forced to make the difficult decision to close the schools today. We are continuing to put all of our efforts behind securing teach out and transfer opportunities for our affected students to ensure they may continue pursuing their educational goals, and are hopeful for a positive outcome."

Students with questions regarding their options at this point can contact the Arizona State Board for Private Postsecondary Education through their website or by calling 602-542-5709.

A spokesperson with the board told 3TV they are working to sort everything out and make sure students are able to continue their programs either through a transfer to another college or through "teach outs"

However, we were told the situation is still very fluid with a lot still to be decided.

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PHOENIX -- Anthem College could shut its doors at two Valley campuses as soon as Friday if a pending sale does not get Department of Education approval.

"It's just really sad. It was all so sudden," said Anthem student Kendra Morisky.

Sadness and shock swept Anthem College campuses in Phoenix Thursday as news spread that the school, which offers career-focused programs, could be closing its doors Friday.

"I was freaking out 'cause I'm like, wow, I have three months to go and now, now what?" Morisky said.

The college is in the midst of trying to sell 14 campuses around the country including two in the Valley. It's part of a Chapter 11 bankruptcy process.

The deal, though, is awaiting Department of Education approval. If Anthem doesn't get it, at least nine of those campuses will close, including two out of the three locations in Phoenix, and students will have to go elsewhere.

Where that is, though, is still unclear for everyone.

"I think something shady is definitely going on," Morisky said

She is not the only one. She told 3TV that the dean told students the school has been struggling financially for a while, yet they continued to enroll students.

"We're like, well if you've been having financial troubles for so long, why are you accepting new students? And why didn't you tell us earlier on so we would have been more prepared?" Morisky asked.

"Four times a week and I come all the way from Tempe," said Dafine Fernandez.

Fernandez is one of those new enrollees. The single mother started class just three months ago in order to get into a better career to improve life for her and her kids.

"I had hopes of getting approved for a house for my kids," said the mother of four. "And a new car because it's all messed up, you know, and it's like, now what?"

Fernandez was studying to become an X-ray technician. She told 3TV her particular program was only offered at Anthem College, so while other students might be able to transfer to other schools, she is out of luck and could be out $20,000.

"They robbed me," Fernandez said. "I feel like they sold me a dream, and they wanted me to hold up my end of that dream and I did. I paid my monthly on time and look what happens? They're not holding up their end."

A firm working for the college sent 3TV the following statement:

“Our foremost goal has always been the well-being of our students. We remain hopeful that we will be able to complete our proposed sale of an additional 14 schools to International Education Corporation (IEC) through our Chapter 11 process. 9 of these 14 schools will be closed if we do not receive Department of Education approval for the transaction by Friday, August 29th. This is why we are concurrently working hard to safeguard our students’ education should we be forced to close the schools by actively seeking potential partners who would be willing to participate in an orderly ‘teach out’ or transfer process.”

Students say they are not so optimistic.

"It's disheartening. I'm scared," Fernandez said. "I don't know what I'm going to do. This was it for me. I have a plan and now it's kind of in the air and it might just fall apart tomorrow."

In the meantime, Fernandez and others still have a lot of questions about where they go from here and what happens to the loans and grants they applied to their classes at Anthem.

"Where does it go? Like, what do they do with it?" Fernandez asked.

Students were given email addresses to contact if they have any questions, but they tell 3TV they are not so sure they will get any help if the school closes.

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