State Shuts Down Vocational School After ConsumerWatch Investigation

SAN JOSE (CBS 5) – A local Bay Area vocational school is being shutdown by state regulators amidst claims of misleading students with false accreditation. The move follows a recent CBS 5 ConsumerWatch investigation.

The shutdown of the Institute of Medical Education has ended classes for about 250 students. The school has campuses in San Jose and Oakland.

Russ Heimrich, of the Department of Consumer Affairs, said the school has defaulted on its enrollment agreement with its students and has been ordered to stop enrolling students, cease instruction, and stop collecting payments.

CODA, the Committee on Dental Accreditation, has pulled the institute’s accreditation. The MRI and ultra sound programs are also unaccredited.

Heimrich said the general director of the dental hygiene program has already resigned.

Students, even in the advanced programs, may also be in jeopardy as Heimerich said they may lack the needed hours and qualifications to take their final exams and tests.

According to school officials, the for-profit institute is accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges.

Khoi Lam, the school’s operations director, said it may sue the state in an effort to prevent the shutdown.

Recently the institute cut its tuition by half from $33,000 to $16,500 for the nursing program in light of a federal agency cut-off of aid to the school.

Some students may qualify for reimbursement. Those with a federal loan could get it waived. Students with private loans may qualify for the Student Tuition Recovery Fund.

State regulators are cautioning students to stop paying the school.

For more information on the closure, visit the Department of Consumer Affairs.

(Copyright 2012 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)


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