Midwest Career College Abruptly Closes Doors, Files For Bankruptcy

Thousands of students attending Wright Career College in Oklahoma, Nebraska, and Kansas are now scrambling to figure out how to finish their education after the school abruptly closed its doors and filed for bankruptcy. 

Students tell KWCH-TV in Wichita, KS, that they received emails notifying them that the school would close immediately, just days before they were set to take finals for the semester.

“It is with our deepest regret that we must tell you that, as of today, Wright Career College is closing its doors,” the notice [PDF] said. “We know that this is unexpected. We did everything we could to keep the doors open until we had a specific plan in place for your continued education, but we are unable to maintain operations any longer.”

Wright Career College, which operated five campuses for about 1,500 students, filed a Chapter 7 petition to liquidate its assets on Friday in U.S. District Court in Kansas City.

Mission Group Kansas, Inc., the parent company for Wright Career College, posted a notice [PDF] on its website Friday confirming its shutdown and revealing that the company had been in negotiations about its future for some time.

The school says it had worked with several parties to arrange for teach-out partners to allow its students to continue their education. However, the company says those efforts were unsuccessful.

“We are saddened by these events,” John Mucci, President of Wright Career College, said in the notice. “It is unfortunate our students cannot complete their programs at Wright Career College.”

The school, which provided classes primarily to help train students for jobs as medical assistants, accountants and other business occupations, says it has received notice from several other schools that will accept transfer credits from its students.

One such school is National American University, a for-profit college company that Wright says has similar programs for students.

“We encourage you to continue your educational journey and to pursue your dream of a career,” the company told students in its notice. “We regret that you cannot continue at Wright Career College.”

Students shared their surprise at the school’s abrupt closure with KWCH.

“I think we’re in the anger stage of grief right now. We’re kind of past the whole this can’t be happening, this is not happening now we’re like okay, this is seriously happening,” one Wichita-based student said.

Another student worried that he wouldn’t be able to continue his education at another school because he’d used his GI Bill benefits at Wright.

“I was upset because I was like well what am I doing to do now because basically I used my Army money because I’m a veteran, I was trying to use that money to pay for the college,” he said. “I guess I stop right here. But I don’t think I’m going to stop because I want to get this done, I want the degree.”

In addition to affecting about 1,500 students, the closure of Wright means about 200 employees in Wichita and Overland Park, KS, and Tulsa, Oklahoma City and Omaha, NE are now out of a job.

Employees were told they will be able to pick up personal items from the buildings this week and that they will be given information about how to file claims for lost pay, the Kansas City Star reports, adding that as of Friday employees hadn’t received paychecks for the previous pay period.

According to the company’s bankruptcy filing it has between 1,000 and 5,000 creditors and liabilities between $1 million and $10 million.

Sader Law Firm is representing the company in bankruptcy and has set up a website for students and employees to obtain information about the case.

Wright Career College’s closure comes as the school faces an ongoing lawsuit from about 200 former students. The suit, filed in 2014, accused the school of fraud and misrepresentation, the Star reports.

The former students claimed that Wright misrepresented job-placement rates and wages to prospective students.

The closure is just the latest in a string of for-profit and career colleges shuttering following lawsuits and investigations by students and regulators.

Las year, Corinthian College Inc. closed its Wyotech, Heald College, and Everest University campuses after a prolonged downfall. The company, which was the second largest for-profit at the time, left thousands of students with mountains of student loans debts.

Wright Career College students left in limbo after school closes [KWCH-TV]
Wright Career College files for bankruptcy [The Kansas City Star]