GLOBE University: NO, we’re NOT CLOSING

A Minnesota court ruling that put new enrollment on hold for Globe University does not mean the Wausau campus will close, school officials said this week.

“There are absolutely no plans to close any Wisconsin campuses,” says Michelle Knoll, senior marketing and communications manager for the Woodbury, Minn. based school system. The for-profit university in May closed four Minnesota campuses in the wake of a fraud lawsuit brought by Minn. Attorney General Lori Swanson, and is not accepting new students at any of the school’s 13 campuses, including five in Wisconsin. The ruling prompted a rash of speculation about the school’s future.

The lawsuit alleges the school intentionally misled students about the value of the school’s degrees and inflated graduates’ success in the job market. There were also questions about whether the school’s criminal justice program met accreditation standards, though those questions don’t apply to Wisconsin, Knoll says.

For-profit schools are facing major challenges on several fronts after a period of meteoric growth. Closures of high-profile schools such as ITT Technical Institute have left thousands of students in limbo while raising questions about the future of an industry that provides training for vocational, technical and other mid-level skilled jobs.

 Federal and state officials nationwide have filed suits or launched investigations into predatory lending and false advertising by some leading chains. The Obama administration is trying to reshape the industry by pushing new regulations that would tie student debt limits to job prospects and make it easier for students to have their loans forgiven if they were defrauded.

On Sept. 15, Globe received an order from the Minnesota Office of Higher Education revoking its license to operate in that state. An appeal is underway, with a decision due in January on whether to allow the campuses to continue operations.

“Current students are not impacted,” Knoll adds. “As for new enrollments, we’ll have to wait until January before we can make a decision.”

There are 92 students enrolled at the Wausau campus.