The state is going after a Connecticut broadcasting school that abruptly shut its doors after 40 years and the school is looking for bankruptcy protection.
Students at the Farmington campus of Connecticut School of Broadcasting said they were notified by text message. Others arrived for classes Wednesday night to find the doors locked. They paid $12,000 for a 16-week course and expected to graduate next week.
The state Department of Higher Education, which regulates Connecticut’s career schools, is urging students to call its toll-free Hotline at 1-800-842-0229 or go to www.ctdhe.org to register for tuition refunds and learn about options for completing their studies.
The Connecticut School of Broadcasting was founded in 1964 by Dick Robinson and operates 26 campuses in 16 states.
Robinson sold the family-run business three years ago to a division of Credit Suisse. That company expanded from 13 to 26 campuses nationwide, including three in Connecticut. All are now closed.
According to state Department of Higher Education records, the CSB enrolled 225 students at its two Connecticut locations last year: 129 in Farmington, and 96 in Stratford.
Students paid $11,990 for 112 hours of training. The Department is investigating the circumstances of the school’s closure, and is issuing a subpoena to the schools’ building landlords to obtain student records, creating a Web page, where students can file claims for payment reimbursement and Arranging for a “teach-out” of current students who wish to complete their studies.
“Our first interest is to protect students,” stated Michael P. Meotti, Commissioner of Higher Education. “We understand that many were set to graduate next week and through no fault of their own, are suffering a major interruption in their career plans. Others may be worried about losing their money or paying back their student loans. Our agency does have a protocol in place for dealing with sudden school closures, and we will help students as quickly as possible.”
Robinson said he'll now apply to the state for a license in the hopes of reopening the Farmington location under a new name.
"It's a real heart breaker to me because it's like a child," said Robinson. "We're gonna try our best to get rolling as soon as we can."
Officials at the private based broadcasting school said the school will seek bankruptcy protection.
The Connecticut School of Broadcasting blamed its financial woes on a tightening in the private student loan market.
The school says it's surprised that its lender, Pittsburgh-based PNC Financial, seized control of the school's accounts as it was attempting to come up with alternatives to continue to fund the business.
PNC officials say they don't comment on their customers or their accounts. But they say the company continues to extend credit to "qualified borrowers."