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Sale of WyoTech career college concerns Casey

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Saturday, July 26, 2014, 12:01 a.m.
 

U.S. Sen. Bob Casey Jr. said he wants answers about the future of WyoTech, a career college in Indiana County that went on the market this month under an agreement with the federal Department of Education.

Corinthian Colleges, the for-profit parent company of WyoTech, enrolls about 72,000 students at campuses across the country under the Everest, Heald and WyoTech banners. It has agreed to close 12 of its 97 campuses and sell others, including the Blairsville WyoTech campus, within the next six months.

Federal authorities crafted the agreement with Corinthian Colleges, which relies on about $1.4 billion a year in federal student aid, amid investigations into complaints about its marketing and job placement and attendance numbers.

In a letter to the Department of Education, Casey stressed his concern for 114 employees at the Blairsville campus and its 600 students ­— most of whom are enrolled in a nine-month, $29,000 program in automotive, diesel and collision/refinishing technologies.

“As any potential sale begins to take shape, I want to be sure that the needs and rights of the students and employees are fully preserved,” Casey, D-Scranton, wrote in a letter to Education Secretary Arne Duncan.

Under Secretary of Education Ted Mitchell said the agency has taken a number of steps to do that, including appointing former U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald to monitor Corinthian Colleges.

“Mr. Fitzgerald and his team will play a critical role in making sure that the department is provided with an accurate accounting of Corinthian's operations to ensure students are protected, as well as protecting the integrity of taxpayers' investment,” Mitchell said.

Art Herman, president of WyoTech's Blairsville campus, said the school expects a new class of about 300 students in September.

Debra Erdley is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-320-7996.

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