Everest College is the biggest asset of one of the four largest for-profit educational conglomerates in the country.
It's in trouble with the Department of Education and is trying to sell 85 campuses. Yet, it's allowed to enroll new students. Why?
The Everest schools, with three campuses in North Texas and 92 more across the country, used to be a cash cow. They've been a cornerstone of Corinthian Colleges, one of the four biggest for-profit educational conglomerates in the country that enrolls 72,000 students nationwide and has taken in more than $1 billion a year in government student loans and grants.
Corinthian has been on the Department of Education, Department of Justice and seven states' radar for bogus recruiting, record-keeping and job placement practices for years. In 2010, News 8 discovered 288 fictitious jobs Everest submitted to the Texas Workforce Commission.
'I think there's concern by the Department of Justice, the Department of Education and the Obama administration that they're going to have a refugee crisis of students with no place to go,' said David Halperin, a Washington-based policy analyst. 'Because they let Corinthian get too big to fail. Now it's going to fail.'
Monique Goldsberry, of Austin, received a ground level perspective on all of this in 2010. She paid $15,400 for an eight-month course in medical coding and billing and found her training worthless in getting a job.
'I'm in debt,' Goldsberry told News 8 this week. 'It's something I cannot use. The certification is not useful, the employers won't accept it.'
This May, Ellen Richardson of Haltom City finished the same course Goldsberry took. The cost had risen a third to more than $20,000, including a whopping $2,038 for books and supplies, perhaps an index of how strapped for cash the parent company is.
But Ellen Richardson was just as dissatisfied with her Everest experience as Goldsberry. 'I paid $20,000,' she told News 8. 'I should get the education that I need and I didn't get it.'
Corinthian has placed 85 Everest Colleges up for sale. Since many are in leased industrial facilities the actual value of these physical properties is not clear. But the Department of Education has allowed Corinthian to sustain cash flow by enrolling new students.
'It doesn't' make sense for Everest and other Corinthian schools to continue to keep on enrolling students,' Halperin said. 'Corinthian Colleges is going to fail. It's going to be difficult for the school to find buyers. It would be better to direct those students to programs that can actually help them.'
In an email to News 8, Corinthian spokesman Kent Jenkins wrote: 'We have an agreement in place with the U.S. Department of Education that provides for the ongoing operation of our campuses while we transition them to new ownership.'
In other words, it's business as usual.