Corinthian Colleges, the for-profit chain of colleges under fire in the last year for leaving students with unsustainable debt levels and lackluster job prospects, announced it's shutting down its remaining 28 campuses effective Monday. 

The closing marks a quick end to what had been a steady dismantling of one of the country’s largest for-profit schools. It will impact approximately 16,000 students nationwide.

The closures include 13 Everest and WyoTech campuses in California, Everest College Phoenix and Everest Online Tempe in Arizona, the Everest Institute in New York and Heald College, along with its 10 satellite campuses across the U.S., according to a notice on the organization's website.   Corinthian's network of for-profit schools once included 100 campuses across the U.S., where about 74,000 students were enrolled.  Last summer, the Department of Education intervened in the company’s operations, cutting off Corinthian’s access to federal student loans without which it could not survive. It was an unprecedented move that followed allegations that Corinthian falsified graduation statistics, inflated job numbers and abused the student lending process. Since then the school has been winding down its operations.   Even before the shutdown plan was announced last year, Corinthian had spent years in court defending itself against charges it allegedly preyed on low-income people with expensive loans. Over the past year, things worsened for the embattled company, which faces a slew of lawsuits brought by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, and attorneys general in California, Massachusetts and Wisconsin. Earlier this month, Corinthian was fined $30 million by the Department of Education for overstating job placement rates for graduates. 

"Instead of providing clear and accurate information to help students choose which college to attend, Corinthian violated students' and taxpayers' trust," Department of Education Under Secretary Ted Mitchell said earlier in a statement. 

In February, the government struck a deal with ECMC Group, allowing the student debt guarantor to acquire some of Corinthian's campuses. ECMC agreed to wipe out $480 million in debt to avoid any liability for Corinthian's alleged illegal activity. Collections & Credit Risk first reported about a possible deal in November 2014.

Once a cash cow industry, for-profit education companies have struggled to overcome criticism of their costs and the quality of instruction. The University of Phoenix has lost more than half of its students in the past five years.

"We believe that we have attempted to do everything within our power to provide a quality education and an opportunity for a better future for our students," said Jack Massimino, CEO of Corinthian. "Unfortunately the current regulatory environment would not allow us to complete a transaction with several interested parties that would have allowed for a seamless transition for our students. I would like to thank our employees for their selfless dedication and commitment to fulfilling the educational and career goals of all of our students."

 

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