Life after Anthem College

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(KTVI) - A search for transcripts leads to confusion for students once enrolled at a local career college.  It's a story that involves hundreds of students.

Anxious students have very little information.   The school closed suddenly in August.  A few weeks earlier the Anthem Education Group filed Chapter 11 bankruptcy.

Stephanie Hall graduated earlier this year from the Maryland Heights campus of Anthem College.   Kimberly Stout graduated with the same medical assisting degree from Anthem`s Fenton campus 2 years ago.    Both women need their transcripts to work in Missouri.  It`s a new requirement.

Stephanie is working but has been told she has until December to complete the certification process. 'I`m not supposed to work there if I`m not certified so I don`t know what`s going to happen.'

Kimberly is also struggling trying to find work.  'I`m upset because I had the opportunity to have a job but, I have to be registered or certified.  And I can`t do that.

The Missouri Dept. of Higher Education says other local schools have agreed to help Anthem students.  Both women contacted one school looking for records but found nothing.  Leroy Wade Deputy Commissioner, for the department says his office is aware of the issue.  'We`ve directed the institution that we actually want to take possession of at least copies of those records.'

The parent company for Anthem College is Florida Career College.  Both schools offered similar programs.  Wade admits there were signs Anthem was struggling financially.  'Sector wide, enrollments have tended to peak and are declining now which can create issues for schools like this that are primarily enrollment driven.'

New federal regulations require schools like Anthem prepare students for "gainful employment" in a recognized occupation. Gainful employment means a person's estimated annual loan payment cannot exceed 20% of discretionary income or 8% of total earnings.  Students have to be wise consumers according to Wade. 'If I`m going to enroll in a gainful employment designated program I have to get more detailed information about, placement rates and debt load and those kinds of issues.'

Wade's office approves schools for operation.  He believes there's a place career schools.   'They in general provide a different delivery model than a traditional institution.  And so sometimes students can find a more direct path, to the career that they`re looking for.'

Some Anthem students say the diploma is a useless piece of paper if they can't get their transcripts.  Stephanie says, 'It`s like I wasted my time, my dedication, my hard work.  I wasted all this time and for what to get nothing in return.'

The Higher Education Dept. does have information on its website for Anthem students.  There's also information that will help you decide if a career school or a community college is the best approach for non-degree programs.

Links:

Missouri Dept. Of Higher Education
U.S. Dept. Of Education
Florida Career College

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