There was an emotional morning meeting at the San Jose campus Thursday. 150 students and representatives of the school were present. The students had arrived for class only to find out that the school, for all intents and purposes, no longer exists. It went out of business that morning.
The vocational students wanted to know why after all their time and money spent, why they could not even sit for their licensing exams. "That's where we were misled," one woman said. "Every one of you knows that if you go to our website, we have clearly mentioned that we are accredited by Western Association of Schools and Colleges," school CEO Sunil Vethody tried to explain to a roomful of students. "Wait. That is the truth," he continued as students yelled out, "You're not."
"There are a couple of things that have happened," said Russ Heimerich with the California Department of Consumer Affairs. "First of all, they're advertising themselves as accredited when they're not. They're running a couple of programs illegally, an MRI program and an ultrasound program, which were not approved by the state."
Among the worried students, is Destiny Cervantes, who was on the verge of tears Thursday. She told ABC7 she was only three days away from graduation and suddenly out $8,000. "We don't have the accreditations no more and so basically, we were offered something that is not going to be able to get completed," she said.
Some students who spent years at the school are out $40,000. There may be some help for them. "We want everyone to apply for student tuition recovery fund and if they have a federal student loan, we'll help them through that process as well," Heimerich said.
One very big question right now is if another vocational school will take the students in and give them standing so they can take their licensing exams. As for the time they lost, the Department of Consumer Affairs says there is nothing they can do about that.