AUSTIN - In the last two months, three for-profit colleges in the Austin area have closed their doors, leaving thousands of students out to dry.
Many of them are still trying to figure out what's next and Austin Community College is trying to help.
Lori Rodriguez came to ACC's Career Exploration Day for one reason.
"I'm trying to see if I can pick up where I left off," Rodriguez said.
She said up until a couple weeks ago she was only six months away from getting her vocational nursing certificate. She was a student at Career Point College, which abruptly closed its doors, leaving close to 1,400 students in the dark.
"I thought it was a joke at first," Rodriguez said.
Former student Tanisha Kertzman did too.
"But then everybody started texting," Kertzman said. "They were like 'school's closed, school's closed.' I was like 'wow, really?'"
They checked their email and found a notice of permanent closure, stating three employees had collaborated to violate rules relating to student aid funds.
The college reported it to the Department of Education and came up with a plan to repay those funds, but the plan was rejected and limited money from the federal government.
Representatives for Career Point College said the school was forced to close.
"That's $30,000 down the drain," Kertzman said.
"When I read it I was in shock," Rodriguez said. "I didn't know what to do."
Rodriguez learned about the Career Exploration Day through a friend and today she met with ACC's Director of Academic and Career Advising, who is trying to help these students of failed for-profit colleges. Traditionally, Career Point College's credits have not been able to transfer to Texas public colleges and institutions, but the community college is trying to offer them comparable degrees.
For Rodriguez, that would be the Vocational Nursing Level 2 Certificate program which requires 43 hours of coursework usually split up over three semesters.
"It sucks, but if I have to start over I have to start over," Rodriguez said.
She's determined to finish, no matter how long it takes.
ACC said that they have staff available during their regular business hours to help students who could not attend Career Exploration Day.
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