Vocational School Closes, Leaving Students Out to Dry

Students may have to re-do everything they've done after school closes.

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    NEWSLETTERS

    TK
    Jodi Hernandez
    Tearful students hug outside of Oakland's Institute of Medical Education.

    Imagine investing your time and money on vocational training...only to find out it's all for naught.

    That's exactly what hundreds of Bay Area students are coming to terms with after the state took the rare step of closing down the Institute of Medical Education, a vocational school with campuses in Oakland and San Jose.

    State regulators say the school had accreditation and financial problems and some of its programs aren't state approved.

    "This move we're taking today keeps them from enrolling new students, keeps them from offering instruction and keeps them from collecting tuition from new students," said Russ Heimerich with the Department of Consumer Affairs.

    A group of nursing students hugged and cried outside the Oakland site today. A 21-year-old student, Ashley Bannert, used her grandmother's life savings to pay Bannert's $30,000 tuition. Bannert should be graduating this month, instead she's learning her two years of work may be worthless.

    "They're telling us there are schools willing to take you to re-do everything we've already done. I don't want to re-do everything, I've already done it once," said Bannert.

    Cecilia Miles has spent 18 months and $30,000 on an ultrasound program the state says isn't even legal. "I'm a single parent working full time going to school trying to better my life," said Miles. "I don't know what to do where to go from here it's a lot of time and effort wasted."

    State regulators say unfortunately, the student's will likely lose the time they've invested but they may be able to re-coup their money through the state's student tuition recovery fund.

    Representatives from the school did not return our phone calls.