Corinthian Sale Postponed

The proposed sale of 56 campuses of the for-profit Corinthian Colleges chain to ECMC, a student loan guarantor, has been postponed until next month, Corinthian said in a corporate filing. The deal, which the U.S. Department of Education brokered, had been scheduled to close in January. It was pushed back earlier this month, and now moved to February.

Corinthian said the closing of most of the campuses included in the purchase agreement is now scheduled for February 2. A second closing for the remaining campuses will follow.

"Although the company and the purchaser have made substantial progress towards the satisfaction of conditions to closing," Corinthian said, "and expect to satisfy the remainder soon, not all of such conditions were satisfied in time to conduct an initial closing."

The deal has been controversial. Some consumer groups have opposed the sale to ECMC, calling the nonprofit agency a "troubled entity" and saying the arrangement will be bad for students. The department, however, has defended the sale, saying it averts "disruption and displacement" of 40,000 students and strengthens their "education prospects."

ECMC on Wednesday issued a written statement about the delay.

“While we continue to make good progress, the enormity of the transaction and the regulatory approvals needed prior to close have extended our target closing date to early in February," the guaranty agency said. "We are pleased with all we’ve been able to accomplish over the last several weeks, especially given the holiday timing, and are continuing to move full steam ahead with our plans to make a difference as a nonprofit provider of career school education driven to promote the long-term success of our graduates.”

(Note: This article has been changed from an earlier version to include new information from ECMC and a Corinthian corporate filing.)

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Western Governors' deepening partnership with StraighterLine creates a new path to completion

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Western Governors University steers rejected applicants to StraighterLine, an online course provider that acts as a low-risk way for students to prepare to earn a degree.

Kaplan Settles Texas Whistleblower Suit

Kaplan Higher Education, a for-profit chain, on Monday agreed to a $1.3 million settlement with the U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Texas. The civil settlement resolves whistleblower allegations that Kaplan employed unqualified instructors at its campuses in Texas, the U.S. Attorney's office said in a written statement. The agreement did not include a finding of wrongdoing by the company. The for-profit settled to avoid the "expense of protracted litigation," a Kaplan official said in a written statement. 

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Herzing, Longtime For-Profit Institution, Goes Nonprofit

Herzing University, a midsized chain of for-profit colleges, has converted to a nonprofit institution, The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel reported. Herzing has 6,000 students in campuses in eight states. Herzing is among the institutions that said new federal regulations on "gainful employment" would make it hard to operate.

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Career Education Corp. to Sell Le Cordon Bleu

Career Education Corp. on Thursday said it plans to sell Le Cordon Bleu, a chain of 16 culinary campuses. The company, which is one of the largest publicly traded for-profits, said in a written statement that the planned sale would allow it to "reallocate funds across our portfolio." Le Cordon Bleu is one of Career Education's better-known brands. With a current enrollment of 10,100 students, the culinary schools brought in $178 million in total revenue last year.

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Groups Oppose Corinthian Sale to ECMC

A coalition of 46 student, consumer, veterans and civil rights groups on Wednesday wrote to the Obama Administration and U.S. Department of Education to oppose the proposed sale of 56 Corinthian Colleges' campuses to ECMC, a nonprofit student loan guarantee agency.

"The terms of the proposed sale to ECMC would not give students the choice of completing or a fresh start, while leaving the campuses in the hands of a troubled entity with no educational experience," the groups wrote. They called on the department to exercise more flexibility in allowing Corinthian students to seek loan discharges. The letter also suggests stricter terms for an ECMC deal, such as requiring that the campuses meet "gainful employment" regulations for seven years.

The sale, which department officials back, is expected to close in January.


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Oregon Loses Appeal of Apollo Lawsuit

A U.S. appeals court on Tuesday sided with a lower court's decision to dismiss a class-action lawsuit the State of Oregon had filed against the Apollo Education Group. The suit alleged that Apollo, which owns the University of Phoenix, had made misleading statements about its enrollment and revenue growth. As a result the state's pension fund lost $10 million, according to the lawsuit. But the courts -- including the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, which ruled Tuesday -- have rejected those claims, finding that Apollo's statements were lawful "business puffing." 

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For-Profit Settles With Massachusetts for $3.75 Million

The Salter Schools, a for-profit chain in Massachusetts, has settled with the state's attorney general, Martha Coakley, over allegations of misrepresented job-placement rates and deceptive student recruitment, according to a news release from Coakley's office. Salter agreed to pay $3.75 million, the bulk of which will be used to help roughly 600 of the schools' former students pay down loans. The company told The Boston Globe that it disputes the allegations, but did not elaborate to the newspaper.

Coakley is conducting a broad investigation of the for-profit industry. She has filed several lawsuits as part of the probe, including one against Corinthian Colleges. The Salter settlement is the second and largest of the settlements her office has secured so far.


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Clearinghouse Says Enrollment Is Down Again

College enrollment has declined by more than 1 percent for three consecutive years, according to newly released data from the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center. The drop of 1.3 percent is slower than that of the previous two years, according to the report, but still reflects a loss of almost 265,000 students. Most of the decline is among adult students, many of whom have joined the workforce as the economy rebounds.

Senators Want Loan Discharges for Corinthian Students

A group of 13 Senate Democrats want the U.S. Department of Education to discharge federal student loans for some current and former students of Corinthian Colleges. In a letter to Arne Duncan, the Senators urged immediate discharges for any borrowers who are covered by lawsuits filed by federal and state agencies against the troubled for-profit chain, which is being dismantled.

The group, which includes Sen. Elizabeth Warren, a Massachusetts Democrat, said the department has the legal authority to forgive loans when students have legal claims against their colleges. They said lawsuits in California and Massachusetts directly relate to lending to Corinthian students, as well as to the education they received.

Kent Jenkins, a spokesman for Corinthian, said it would be unjust for the federal government to act on unproven allegations that are being contested in court. "Their letter argues that court is an unnecessary formality," he said in a written statement, "and its disregard for basic fairness and due process is deeply troubling."

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