1,200 Campuses Have Closed in the Past 5 Years Alone
In the last 5 years, over 1,200 College and University Campuses have closed, leaving nearly 500,000 students left stranded, and wondering what to do next.
The College Closure Crisis is just another issue unraveling hopes and dreams of ordinary Americans as the country refuses to admit and deal with the widening Student Loan Deb Crisis, a debt bubble that WILL eventually pop, just like the Housing bubble did in 2008.
And while politicians are willing to give it lip service, thus far, no one is actually doing anything about it.
A recent report on College Closures from the Chronicle of Higher Education details that we’re seeing an average of 20 college campuses closing each week, and that the individuals most likely to be impacted by these recent closures tend to be older, poorer, and less likely to be able to recover from having their campuses shut down than traditional 4-year college students.
Per the Chronicle, most of the impacted students are “age 25 or older. About one in four are at least 35 years old”, and these are precisely the types of people who aren’t just getting started, but have gone back to school to try to improve their lives, only to end up getting stranded and having to start all over, all over again!
The Chronicle article also reports that almost “70 percent of undergraduates at closed campuses received need-based Pell Grants”, reinforcing the idea that the students impacted most by these closures aren’t from wealthy families with a strong financial safety net, but the types of students most at risk to financial setbacks.
Finally, I think it’s most important to note that the Chronicle found that of the 1,20 campuses that closed over the past 5 years, “88 percent were operated by for-profit colleges”, which reinforces my contention that it’s really the For-Profit Schools who are most responsible for inflating and worsening the growing student loan debt bubble, and who need to be reined back under control before they blow it to pieces.
What Happens to Students When Schools Shut Down?
If the school only closes a campus or two (or a bunch), but still has others open, then students are often able to continue their programs at these other locations.
It’s not all gravy though, because that often requires a big move, or a shift to online learning (for those schools who offer it), which is a big chance, and in many cases, not at all what the students would have wanted.
Things are worse, however, where the entire company goes caput, which has happened several times for some of the country’s largest for-profits, and students are essentially left out to dry, forced to try to transfer their credits to another school entirely, or to pursue a debt discharge via the Federal Closed School Student Loan Discharge Program.
The thing is – there are downsides to both of these options, let alone to severely disrupting students plans.
On the credit transfer end, many students are finding that other schools simply won’t accept the transfer credits, or will only allow approvals of SOME of the transferred credits. This is especially true at the for-profit schools, who often don’t have a very good reputation in academic circles.
And for those students who do decide to hang up their spurs and pursue a Closed School Discharge instead, many of them are finding that this program will do a great of eliminating Federal student loan debt related to the closed school, but that it also requires that they give up all the credits they earned in their course of study, meaning that all the time and effort they spent toward that degree must be abandoned entirely.
What Can You Do to Protect Yourself?
First off, try not to attend one of the big, chain-like for-profit schools, as there’s no telling which one will end up shutting down next, and they’ve been collapsing like dominoes over the past several years.
Next, if you’re already enrolled at a school who seems to be having financial trouble, looking into your options for transferring credits before things get too bad, and before the school’s name is dragged entirely through the mud.
The sooner you get those credits transferred, the more likely it will be to work out in your favor. Remember, once the school has been shut, that makes it way more difficult to do things like get transcripts, verify enrollment dates, and process all the other paperwork required to complete a credit transfer.
Make sure that you’re fully prepared for the potential of having to start all over again by wiping out your loans – and those college credits you’ve earned – via the Closed School Discharge Program.
In addition, make sure that you’ve got a backup plan in place for how you’ll spend your time, and how you’ll access funding, if your school does end up shutting down and you’re cut off from financial aid.
Don’t be like the families who lose their stipends due to school closures and end up being put on the street because they were using student loan funds to pay for rent. You really do need to have an emergency plan in place in case a college closure hits close to home, otherwise you could end up completely stranded.
What Colleges Have Recently Closed?
To make it crystal clear how much of a problem this has become, let’s look at a short list of just a few of the biggest schools that have closed over the last couple years.
Colleges That Closed Recently
- ITT Tech
- Corinthian Colleges
- Everest College
- Heald College
- Westwood College
- Le Cordon Bleu
- Kaplan University
- Anthem College
- Brown Mackie College
- Brightwood College
- Argosy University
Don’t assume that you’re perfectly safe, or that a college closure won’t happen to you, because it’s happened to HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS of Americans who never saw it coming either!
Make sure you’ve got a back-up plan ready to roll in case disaster strikes. You owe it to yourself, and to your family to be prepared for the worst.
Is There Hope on the Horizon?
I tend to be a pretty optimistic person – I’m always looking for a silver lining, and I’ve seen a lot of positive changes in the student loan industry over the past ten years of watching it, but I’m losing hope for a better future.
Why? Because President Donald Trump, who I once predicted would become known as “The Student Loans President”, hasn’t lived up to any of his campaign trail rhetoric about fixing the student loan crisis, and has installed the most inept, least qualified and most hostile person possible at the top of the Department of Education.
I’m talking about Betsy DeVos, notorious friend of the for-profit schools, and absolute enemy of the ordinary American borrower. Under her guidance, not only has the Department of Education effectively ground the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program to a halt, they’ve also basically paused issuing any approvals for Borrower’s Defense to Repayment Discharges, and now I’m hearing some rumblings about them interfering with issuing approvals on Closed School Discharges as well!
My personal opinion is that things simply won’t get any better until President Trump is replaced with a more-friendly person, and Betsy DeVos and her ilk are removed from the Department of Education entirely.
Until this happens, I simply don’t see anything getting noticeably better for any of us.
Do your part to help improve the student loan crisis by lobbying for, supporting and voting in student loan-friendly politicians!
Disclaimer:Information obtained from Forget Student Loan Debt is for educational purposes only. You should consult a licensed financial professional before making any financial decisions. This site receives some compensation through affiliate relationships. This site is not endorsed or affiliated with the U.S. Department of Education.