Abrupt School Closing Raises Questions

Students at the Sawyer School in Hartford are trying to make a plan after abruptly finding out their school was being shut down.

According to several students at the school, they learned that the school was closing late last week on Facebook. Classes were originally scheduled to begin January 2nd.

It was not only students who were surprised by the sudden closing, but faculty too.

"We have no answers, we haven't been given information," said instructer Don Lanier.

The Sawyer School in Hartford is one of three schools in the state offering occupational training, including a medical assistance program.

The school also has a second campus in Hamden and the Butler Business School in Bridgeport. Over 1,200 students occupy the three campuses.

The Office of Higher Education addressed the abrupt closing in a statement today saying they" received a brief email on December 30, 2012 from Academic Enterprises Inc., stating that the schools have 'suspended' operations.'"

The statement also urges students impacted by the closure to contact the Office of Higher Education for assistance.

"We encourage all impacted students to register with our Office so that we may learn of their status and help answer their questions about finishing their coursework and obtaining potential tuition reimbursements,” said Jane A. Ciarlegio, Executive Director of the Office of Higher Education.

Senator Richard Blumenthal sent out a letter to students of the Butler and Sawyer School assuring them that they will be reimbursed for any tuition they have paid. The letter also stated that the sudden closure, impacting hundreds of students and the federal government, strongly suggests the need for investigation.

Connecticut General Statutes prescribe procedures for schools to follow in the event of closing. Schools are required to notify the Office of Higher Education at least 60 days before closing. The notification gives agency officials time to work with school representatives to assure an orderly transition and cessation of business. Both Butler Business and Sawyer Schools violated this requirement.

Students at the school say they aren't giving up so easily and will do whatever it takes to get answers from the administrators.

"It's not fair that we've reached so far and now are dreams are put on hold," said Sawyer student Olga Diaz.

Diaz was one of many students only weeks away from graduating.

Students told NBC Connecticut that they plan on holding a rally at the Hartford campus on 141 Wednesday at 9 a.m.

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