For Immediate Release - January 10, 2013

Media Alert: American Career Institute Shuts Doors; Leaves Students Schooling In Question

State Office of Consumer Affairs Working to Quickly Place Affected Students in Programs and Work Out Financing

BOSTON - The American Career Institute (ACI), a for profit occupational school that provided on the job training in specialties such as database administration, allied health, and digital media abruptly closed down yesterday citing financial difficulties.

The office's Division of Professional Licensure (DPL) was informed by the school yesterday that ACI ceased had operating in Massachusetts. DPL is investigating the matter.

"We have preliminary information at this point and are working expeditiously to get students placed in teach-out programs and to resolve financing issues," said Undersecretary of Consumer Affairs Barbara Anthony. "We are very troubled by the abrupt closing, the apparent lack of notice, and the ramifications for students; we are committed to getting to the bottom of this."

Preliminary estimates indicate that 1,400 students from five locations in Cambridge, Springfield, Braintree, Framingham and Woburn are affected. Consumer Affairs and DPL are trying to obtain "teach-out" agreements with other occupational schools with similar programs for students interested in continuing their education. The agencies are also looking into options for reimbursements for any money paid for courses that have not yet been taken and how students might be able to discharge their loans for uncompleted programs.

 "We are in communication with school administrators to determine what happened and how to best move forward," said Director of the Division of Professional Licensure Mark Kmetz. "Our investigators are out at the schools this morning and we encourage anyone with questions to call our Occupational Schools hotline at 617-727-6917."  

Students affected by the closure can contact DPL at 617-727-6917 for questions and additional information.

If students paid for coursework they did not receive, Consumer Affairs advises the following:

If you have a student loan: Contact the lender immediately to inform them of the school's closure and that you wish to request  a "non-interest bearing administrative forbearance" of the loan until such time that the claim with the school is settled.

If you paid by check: If your check has not already been cashed by the school, contact your bank to stop payment on the check. If the check has been cashed, obtain a copy of it.

If you paid by credit card: Contact your credit card company immediately.

If you are attending school under the Massachusetts Unemployment Law: Contact the Division of Unemployment Assistance at 617-626-5375 to notify them of the situation.

If you are attending school with financing from your local career center: Contact the career center and apprise them of the closure.

DPL took over licensing of Occupational Schools in August 2012. They were previously licensed by the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education. There are approximately 200 occupational schools licensed in Massachusetts. This is the first school to shut down in 2013.

The Office of Consumer Affairs and DPL will make additional information public as it becomes available. Students should check the DPL web site www.mass.gov/dpl frequently for updates.

The Office of Consumer Affairs and Business Regulation is committed to protecting consumers through consumer advocacy and education, and also works to ensure that the businesses its agencies regulate treat all Massachusetts consumers fairly. Follow the Office at its blog, on Facebook and Twitter, @Mass_Consumer.

The Division of Professional Licensure (DPL) is a regulatory agency within the Office of Consumer Affairs and Business Regulation.  The agency is responsible for ensuring regulatory compliance and the integrity of the licensing process for more than 365,000 licensees in trades and professions under the jurisdiction of 31 boards of registration. DPL also licenses and regulates private occupational schools. Follow DPL on Twitter at @MassDPL

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