Zenith Education closing Colorado Springs, Thornton campuses of Altierus Career College

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Zenith Education Group will close its Altierus Career College campuses in Colorado Springs and Thornton, laying off 53 employees starting but completing classes for current students, the California-based nonprofit has told state officials.

The local campus, previously called Everest College, is at 1815 Jet Wing Drive near the Colorado Springs Airport and will operate until September. The Thornton campus will stay open until . Both will let students complete their programs, a Zenith spokeswoman said.

The closings are part of a restructuring that will shutter 21 campuses with 5,400 students nationwide and leave Zenith with campuses in Tampa, Fla.; Norcross, Ga., and Houston, allowing the company to "focus on the most effective initiatives and innovative ideas that provide underserved students with the best opportunities for career success," the company said in a statement.

The local campus offers career education for dental and medical assistants, medical administration and computer information technology. Zenith acquired the campuses in 2015 from Corinthian Colleges Inc.

Corinthian was under scrutiny by federal and state regulators amid allegations that it falsified student job placement rates and misled prospective students by persuading them to take on too much debt. Corinthian shut down a 200-employee call center in Colorado Springs about the same time as the sale, later filed for bankruptcy and a month later closed its other campuses.

Zenith struggled after the acquisition, laying off more than half its workforce and losing thousands of students and more than $100 million. The sale included an agreement to forgive $480 million of loan debt held by former Corinthian students. The company hired a new CEO and secured a $250 million endowment to strengthen its balance sheet.

"Over the past few years, it has become evident to us that many of our campuses are located in areas that are geographically inconvenient for underserved students or not built to accommodate the programs we want and need to offer," Zenith said in the statement. "We will work with each and every student to help him/her achieve his/her education goals, just as we did when we acquired the campuses in 2015. No student was left behind then and we will ensure each has the opportunity for success now."


Contact Wayne Heilman: 636-0234

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