by: John Knicely Updated:
Corinthian, which owns Everest College, missed a Tuesday deadline with the Education Department to come up with a more detailed plan on either the sale or closure of the company’s 100 college campuses in 26 states and Ontario, Canada.
The company is under multiple state and federal investigations due to complaints that go back a decade.
Ted Mitchell, the undersecretary of education, said in a statement Wednesday, "We are optimistic that further conversations with the company will produce an acceptable plan in the next few days that protects the interests of students and taxpayers."
Corinthian has said it will look for new owners for most of its schools and hopes to have sales agreements in place within about six months.
In addition to Everest College, Corinthian owns Heald College as well as WyoTech schools, which do not operate in Western Washington. There are six Everest locations in Western Washington.
In June, the company and the Education Department said they reached a memorandum of understanding that would allow the company to obtain an immediate $16 million in federal student aid funds to keep operating. But under that agreement, the two sides had set a Tuesday deadline to hammer out a more detailed plan on whether campuses would be closed or sold.
The Education Department has said it put Corinthian on heightened financial monitoring with a 21-day waiting period for federal funds. That came after Corinthian failed to comply with the department's requests to address concerns about Corinthian's practices.
Those concerns included allegations of falsifying job placement data used in marketing claims to prospective students, and allegations of altered grades and attendance.
Brianna Fikes is a Medical Assisting student at the Seattle campus. She says she's been told nothing about the scandal from school officials except that the school's name would change.
“It makes me a little nervous,” Fikes said. “But I'm not going to drop out of school just because I'm worried about it.”
Everest teachers reached out to KIRO 7 to say they’re worried they will stop getting paid.
A spokesman for Corinthian told KIRO 7 there will be no immediate closures. The spokesman added they are working with the Education Department on a seamless transition process, but he could only promise their goal is to not disrupt any students' education.