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Another predatory for-profit education provider has closed its doors as of July 2014. Anthem College filed for bankruptcy and closed the doors of many of its institutions, sold several off to International Education Corporation, and hoped that closed its doors and filed for bankruptcy. Prior to this decision, the college had 41 campuses, sold 14 of them to International Education Corporation, and was hoping that 19-28 of its campuses would remain open after everything was finalized. How this school who had substantial profits on a few years ago ended up in this position we may never find out but it’s safe to say the taxpayers will be rejoicing as the for-profit ceases to exist as it claimed 90 percent of its revenues from federal student aid programs.
Enrollment bottomed out to less than half in just a few years for Anthem College, and for good reason. Decisions like the one refusing to refund students for tuition when schools closed give a good indication of what this company was like. The refusal to comply with the request to refund students by the Educational Approval Board would come as no surprise to many students with experience with this college. The Board was told it would have a month or more to find transfer placements for students affected by the closures but this, too, turned out to be another area where Anthem can’t live up to its promises. The Board was told rather suddenly it had only 3 days as Anthem College moved the dates back which left hundreds of students in quite the predicament. The bankruptcy is due to enrollment shortfalls and Anthem College’s profits taking a huge plunge. The college reported $18 million profit in 2006, yet only 3 years later reported a loss of $4 million, listed debts at $50-100 million and total number of creditors at 1,000-1,500.
A Senate report revealed that Anthem was one of the 30 most troubling for-profits under investigation for its predatory and aggressive recruiting tactics. Undercover applicants were sent into various Anthem Colleges and met with enrollment officials. One student’s application was altered to remove $250,000 in savings and the student was signed up for a federal student loan. Another undercover student was refused permission to speak to a financial representative until after enrollment was successfully completed even though they specifically requested a consultation.
Educational Approval Board officials stated it would be in the students’ benefit for Anthem College to close due to its predatory and aggressive tactics as well as due to fraudulent tampering of applications to push students into borrowing federal student loans. While this would certainly help prevent future students from ending up in debt to their eyeballs they didn’t even need, it certainly doesn’t help those who have already been scammed.
Many students looking at the Anthem College complained they were chronically harassed my enrollment counsellors and received as many as 5-10 calls per day pressuring them into enrolling. Some students’ references also received predatory calls to enroll at levels which constituted harassment. When referenced individuals refused to enroll, the original student was threatened with refusal to the programs and their enrollment was threatened. Why all this pressure to enroll people who aren’t even looking to go to college?
Dwindling enrollment numbers and the huge losses of federal student loan generated income would be a good place to put your bets. When we consider that Anthem College received 81.9% of its revenues from federal student aid programs and additional amounts from Veterans Affairs and the Department of National Defence programs, we begin to get a clearer picture. From 2007 to 2010, Pell grant funding jumped from $37.3 million to over $41.1 million. When you add this to the fact that tuition at Anthem College is generally three times that of a community college for the same program, you have to wonder how they managed to report a loss and end up declaring bankruptcy. Even if their enrollment numbers were cut in half, they were receiving three times the tuition from each student, yet couldn’t stay afloat.
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