Durbin Statement On Sale Of Corinthian Campuses

[WASHINGTON, D.C.] - U.S. Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) today released the following statement after the Department of Education announced an agreement to sell 56 Corinthian campuses (accounting for 40,000 students) to Education Credit Management Corporation (ECMC)’s newly created “Zenith Education” non-profit. 

“Corinthian is Exhibit A when it comes to a for-profit school which misled its students, defrauded the government and walked away with millions of taxpayer dollars,” Durbin said.  “I believe this sale of the bankrupt Corinthian school system to ECMC should focus on sparing the students who have been victimized and the taxpayers who continue to be on the hook.  We will hold the Department of Education to the highest standard of accountability in this process.”

Durbin has repeatedly called on the Department of Education to do more to protect students and taxpayers following the collapse of Corinthian Colleges, Inc. which operates under the name “Everest College” at campuses in Illinois located in Burr Ridge, Bedford Park, Melrose Park, Merrionette Park, and Skokie.  All Illinois campuses are a part of today’s deal.  Earlier this week, he met with Secretary of Education Arne Duncan to reiterate that call.

After failing to provide required data to the Department of Education about its practices, including falsifying job placement data used in marketing claims to prospective students and allegations of altered grades and attendance, Corinthian agreed to sell or close its campuses across the country as its finances collapsed. This placed the company’s 70,000 current students at risk.  The for-profit college is currently under investigation by 20 states, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, the U.S. Department of Justice, and the Securities and Exchange Commission.

On June 26, Durbin led eleven U.S. Senators in calling on the Secretary of Education Arne Duncan to protect students while continuing to hold Corinthian Colleges, Inc. accountable, including immediately prohibiting them from enrolling any new students.  In addition, the Senators asked the Department of Education to answer a series of questions related to the protection of students and taxpayer funding. 

In response to a December 16 investigation in the Huffington Post, Durbin sent a letter to the Secretary of Education, Arne Duncan, asking him to investigate Corinthian Colleges, Inc. and their manipulative marketing practices which included a subsidy program for employers to hire graduates temporarily and outright lying by the company through their advertisement of numbers substantially higher than actual job placement rates.

After that letter, the Department requested information from Corinthian related to their job placement rates and denied the company’s new program applications.  At that time, Durbin also called on the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges and the Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools – Corinthian Colleges, Inc.’s accreditors – to take action.