Vatterott Educational Centers, a for-profit chain of colleges, has announced the immediate closure of all its campuses because of financial difficulties.
The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that Vanderott said in a letter to students that it was no longer feasible to remain in business because of a U.S. Department of Education decision to limit the company's participation in federal financial aid programs.
The move doomed a pending sale of most of the Vanderott campuses to another for-profit education company, Education Corporation of America.
“Vatterott is unable to continue operation under these restrictions, and consequently, is unable to complete the aforementioned sale," the letter reads. "The Department imposed these restrictions despite the presence of an interested buyer and our clear communication that such restrictions would result in the school’s closure.”
All Vatterott schools were placed on probation earlier this year by the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges.
The chain, based in Berkeley, Mo., has four campuses in the St. Louis area and 11 more across the Midwest.
In November, the commission voted to revoke Vatterott’s accreditation, on the grounds that the school failed to “demonstrate successful student achievement and by maintaining acceptable rates of student graduation and graduate employment.”
And its potential buyer has had financial woes of its own.
This month, Education Corporation of America announced that it too was shuttering all campuses nationwide, after its accrediting agency suspended approval. One of the largest for-profit college chains in the U.S., it had enrolled roughly 20,000 students across more than 70 campuses, including the Virginia College and Brightwood College chains
Vatterott specialized in culinary arts, automotive trades, allied health and music production, among other areas. Vatterott Educational Centers has 950 employees, roughly 500 of whom are in Missouri.
Students and staff were instructed Monday to gather any personal belongings and leave campus. Officials told students they were working to store their permanent records and identify other schools that could accept them on transfer.