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Published On: Tue, May 19th, 2015

Help for Heald Students

What happened to Heald and Corinthian college students is really really scary, especially for students who might not be cut out for or able to attend traditional schools and who depend on alternative programs for their educations and degrees.

For those who haven’t yet heard, Heald College (and its parent company Corinthian College) have completely shut down, leaving all of their current and most of their former students and employees in the lurch. The shutdown happened after the Department of Education decided to deal a hammer blow to Corinthian when it learned of the company’s falsifications of attendance, performance, graduation rate and job placement after graduation. In simpler terms: Corinthian, and by extension, Heald, took in billions of dollars in student loan profit and then lied to their students and the feds about those students’ performances.

For example, one former student was told that she could qualify for grants and effectively get free tuition. Then, when she was halfway through her program she was told that the situation had changed and she wound up having to take out twenty thousand dollars in student loans to continue her education…which, proved to be ill gained when she managed to land an internship only to find out that she hadn’t been properly educated or trained at all. Now she has to go back and repeat a lot of the classes and training she was supposed to have gotten the first time around.

If that weren’t troubling enough, there are now thousands and thousands of students sitting on millions in student loan debt, all for educations they didn’t receive and won’t get to complete. Yikes!

If you are one of these former students whose school has suddenly been shut down, you’re probably panicking and wondering what you’re supposed to do next. Here are some tips to help you out.

photo 401(K) 2012 via Flickr

photo 401(K) 2012 via Flickr

#1. Contact your student loan provider.

Make sure that your student loan provider knows what happened to your school. The Federal Department of Education is currently working on a program that is designed to forgive the student loans of Heald and Corinthian college students. The loans might not be forgiven right away–the program is still being developed–but your loan guarantor should know what is happening. They might be able to help you defer what you owe while everybody waits to see what shakes out.

#2. Talk to the Community College Chancellor’s Office in your state

Heald had campuses in several states, so go to your state’s chancellor and ask for guidance and support. The chancellor’s office might be able to help you obtain transcripts, help make sure that credits are transferable, etc. They can also help you find other schools like Heald (but not as corruptly owned) that might be able to fit you into their current student body so you can keep going to school. In Hawaii, the Hawaii State Postsecondary Education Authorization Program has created a guide to help Heald students plan their next steps.

#3. Start searching for a new school

This is going to be difficult. Your trust has been burned! Still, it is important that you not lose momentum. There are smaller schools out there, like Warner Pacific College in Portland and other schools in California, that have set up programs specifically for Heald students who need to transfer.

You might also consider transferring to your local community college or trade school. Not for profit schools are another option if you are worried about corrupt business practices.

#4. Learn to Vet Your Next School

Learn how to investigate any potential new school. Learn how to check out a school’s accreditation and to find out how former students are actually doing. Don’t just look at promotional literature. Really dig into the school’s practices.

#5. Try to Stay Strong

Having your school shut down is scary! Suddenly you’re left with a lot of decisions to make and not a lot of information with which to make them. Figuring out what to do next is going to be confusing and probably overwhelming. Talk to your fellow Heald students and find out what they know and what they are doing. Lean on each other and learn from each other. Just because your school isn’t there anymore doesn’t mean you don’t still share that common bond.

It’s also a good idea to talk to your family and friends and ask for their support while you figure out what to do. Whatever you do, do not hide from this or assume that you’re done. You will find a new school and you will find your momentum again! Don’t give up!

On the DISPATCH: Headlines  Local  Opinion

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About the Author

- Adam Lee is a financial writer who has insightful knowledge in dealing with different financial issues. He tries to help people to get out of difficult financial situations by contributing financial write ups to websites and blogs such as Moneyforlunch.com and Moneynewsnow.com

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