COLUMBUS (WCMH) – There’s some relief being offered to students at a local college that shut down without warning this week.
Columbus State Community College (CSCC) is offering Heritage College students $500 in scholarship money to continue their educations at their school.
Heritage College abruptly closed on Tuesday, leaving students with more questions than answers.
22-year-old student Gabrielle Sanders was just a few weeks away from graduation.
“We were supposed to pick up our cap and gowns next week,” she said. “I had family coming in. I had 25 grad invitations that had been sent out.”
She said students weren’t given any warning of the closing. There was no explanation, just a sign on the door reading, “officially closed.”
“You don’t do that to people,” said Sanders.
She said it’s leaving students with thousands of dollars of debt and nothing to show for it.
“You’re doing this to mothers. You’re doing this to people that are trying to better themselves,” said Sanders. “You promised them an opportunity. You promised them a career and you lied.”
She said she spent upwards of $16,000 on her education and was lucky to pick up her diploma and transcript before the school closed. Many of her classmates didn’t get that chance.
“Call people and tell them they can come and pick up their diplomas, but don’t lock students out and leave them in limbo like this,” said Sanders. “We achieved so much and to have that ripped away from us is wrong.”
She’s hoping she can get her certification as a medical assistant on her own and move forward.
“All I can do is try to comfort my fellow classmates, try to get them answers, try to help them,” said Sanders. “We’re going to make it through this.”
A statement from Heritage College cites not having enough cash to continue to run its business, declining student enrollment and decreased demand for the services of “for-profit” schools. Heritage said they did not close do to wrongdoing or a forced closure by a regulatory body and tried a range of options to stay open. Ten campuses, including the one in Columbus, are closing across the nation (http://www.heritagecollege.edu/disclosures/).
CSCC said it hasn’t gotten any calls from Heritage students to take them up on their scholarship offer, yet.
CSCC gave a similar offer to ITT Tech students after its closure a few months ago. A spokesperson for CSCC said about 130 ITT Tech students have inquried about the scholarship and estimate about 1/3 of those students to enroll in the spring.