After 100 years in Dayton, Miami-Jacobs Career College will close its four southwest Ohio campuses.
The Dayton Daily News first reported Friday that the private, for-profit college will no longer accept new students at its Dayton, Springboro, Troy and Sharonville campuses, keeping those sites open only to allow existing students to finish their programs.
“We will assist students in transferring to other schools if they choose to continue their education and training elsewhere,” spokesman Chuck Vella said. “This was a difficult but necessary decision. We are committed, however, to helping our students complete their coursework or transition to complete their certification or degree at other, area schools.”
Miami-Jacobs has associate’s degree and certificate programs in business, criminal justice, health care and other fields. The school’s new term launches Tuesday, and Vella said students who had enrolled for the first time will have their tuition deposits refunded.
A Miami-Jacobs call center representative was still telling callers Friday that new students could enroll in Dayton for the July 5 term. That is no longer an option, according to Vella, who said students and faculty were informed of the news Wednesday.
John Ware, executive director of the State Board of Career Colleges and Schools, said the number of career colleges registered in Ohio has dipped from a peak of 311 five years ago, to 250. And the number of students served by those schools has been cut almost in half in that span, from 96,744 to 51,718.
Miami-Jacobs officials declined to comment on how many students they serve or how many people they employ. They did say that operations at the school’s Cleveland-area and Columbus sites would continue as usual, including online classes.
Ware estimated that Miami-Jacobs had roughly 150 students at each of the four southwest Ohio campuses.
Career college problems
Miami-Jacobs officials would not comment on the reason for the closure, but the for-profit college industry has faced criticisms of its effectiveness and practices in recent years.
New federal regulations that went into effect exactly one year ago aimed to “protect students at career colleges from becoming burdened by student loan debt they cannot repay.”
The “gainful employment” rule set standards to make sure students aren’t piling up debt in programs that don’t lead to solid-paying jobs. If schools didn’t meet certain debt-to-salary markers for their industries, they could become ineligible for federal student aid.
“I think it really has to do with all those regulatory issues right now from the federal government,” Ware said. “Some of these schools are looking at the numbers and making a decision that the programs aren’t going to meet whatever the metrics are that the feds are using, so they’re discontinuing the programs.”
Ware said both the Art Institute of Cincinnati and Brown Mackie College’s Cincinnati and Findlay campuses recently stopped accepting new students as well.
A California judge this year ordered the now-defunct Corinthian Colleges to repay students hundreds of millions of dollars for false advertising, improper debt collection, and misrepresenting job placement and credit transfer rates.
Ware said Miami Jacobs officials told him they were reaching out to Fortis College and Brightwood (formerly Kaplan) College to help students transfer if they wanted. Those schools are also for-profit colleges.
Sinclair Community College offers associate’s degrees in many of the same programs as Miami Jacobs. Spokesman Adam Murka said Sinclair does not accept transfer credits from Miami-Jacobs, but will allow students in some of their programs to “demonstrate prior learning through testing” so they can test out of some coursework.
“We will do our best to reach out to those students,” Murka said. “Where we can help, we will.”
In spring 2016, the state showed 11 career colleges registered in Montgomery County – everything from Fortis College and ITT Technical Institute to the David-Curtis School of Floral Design and the School of Advertising Art.
According to the school’s website, the Miami Commercial School and the Jacobs Business College merged in 1916 to form Miami-Jacobs.
The school has undergone numerous changes since 2000. In 2003, Miami-Jacobs was acquired by Delta Career Education Corporation out of Delaware. New campuses opened in Springboro (2005) and Troy (2007).
In 2012, Miami-Jacobs was part of a merger with the McCann School of Business & Technology in Pennsylvania. Then in January 2016, the downtown Dayton campus moved a block south from its longtime home on Patterson to 401 E. Third St.
There have also been legal issues. In 2010, Miami Jacobs was ordered to pay more than $100,000 in settlements to former surgery technology students who sued over the program’s accreditation status. Then in 2011, the Ohio Board of Nursing withdrew approval of the school’s five-year-old practical nursing program, citing “recurring deficiencies related to a disregard for the students.”
The Dayton Daily News covered accreditation problems at Miami-Jacobs from 2009 to 2011 and was the first to report news of its closure Friday.