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Career Education Corporation announced yesterday that it will stop enrolling new students at the Le Cordon Bleu Colleges of Culinary Art after Jan. 4, 2016, and wind down operations. 

The for-profit company attempted to sell the 16 culinary campuses this year, but negotiations with a potential buyer failed. Le Cordon Bleu was the for-profit company's most well-known brand. The campuses are expected to remain open until September 2017. 

"New federal regulations make it difficult to project the future for career schools that have higher operating costs, such as culinary schools that require expensive commercial kitchens and ongoing food costs," said Todd Nelson, president and chief executive officer of Career Ed, in a news release. "Despite our best efforts to find a new caretaker for these well-renowned culinary colleges, we could not reach an agreement that we believe was in the best interests of both our students and our stockholders." 

The for-profit plans to "refocus" resources on Career Ed's online university and provide Le Cordon Bleu students the appropriate resources in the "teach out." 

Massachusetts Commissioner of Higher Education Carlos Santiago expressed his displeasure with the college's closing. Le Cordon Bleu enrolled 256 Massachusetts students, of which 29 are military veterans. 

"I am disappointed to learn that the parent company of Le Cordon Bleu chose to announce its closure plans to the media before notifying the Department of Higher Education," Santiago said in a news release. "Massachusetts law requires notification of an institution's shutdown plans as far in advance as possible, and such plans must be approved by the department before implementation. It is the commonwealth, through my office, that will determine whether the September 2017 closure plans move forward, or whether an alternate closure plan is deemed to be in the best interest of students."