Everest student left in the lurch
Last summer, Gerry Goulet had a plan to provide a more stable future for his family. After being laid off from his job in November of 2013, the 35-year-old father of three had embarked on a new career path in law enforcement. With a long-term goal of working for the RCMP or the Canadian Border Patrol, Mr. Goulet managed to procure $10,000 from the Ontario government’s Second Career program and enrolled in the one-year law enforcement program at Everest College.
For the next seven months, things went fairly smoothly and Mr. Goulet was regularly commuting from his home in Glen Walter to Everest College’s east Ottawa location in the St-Laurent Centre.
But all that came to a halt last week when Mr. Goulet learned that every one of Canada’s Everest College campuses was shutting its doors.
Mr. Goulet says he heard the news while attending classes. “Nobody had any clue what was happening,” he says. “The staff came in and told everyone to pile into the computer lab.”
At first he thought he was going to learn about a new Canadian buyer for Everest College, which is owned by an American corporation called Corinthian Colleges Inc.
Instead, he heard that the school was closing and that everyone had to vacate the building immediately. On the way out, former students were given information packages, which included TCAF forms (Training Completing Assurance Fund) issued by the Ontario Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities.
He says he was told that he wouldn’t get his money back.
“When we were told that there was a lot of crying and a lot of yelling,” he says. “I was hoping this program would further my skills and allow me to get into a job that would provide a more stable income for my family.”
He doesn’t know what the future holds. He says there’s a possibility that the program will move to another campus but he doesn’t know how close that will be to his home in South Glengarry.
Mr. Goulet, who helps run a Christian youth centre in Maxville along with his wife, Rebecca, adds that the tuition cost $17,000. Since Second Career can only provide a maximum of $10,000 for tuition at a private college, Mr. Goulet had to raise the remaining $7,000 himself. He says it’s unlikely he’ll ever see that money again.
“I’m nervous about the future,” he admits. “I don’t know what’s going to happen next. I may be back in school next week but the bills are going to keep coming in.”
Due to financial concerns, the province’s superintendent of private career colleges suspended all Everest College activities.
“The superintendent was no longer satisfied that Everest could be expected to be financially responsible in the operation of a private career college and in the offering of its vocational programs,” said a media release from the ministry.”
Minister Reza Moridi says his ministry will help affected students transfer their education to another college or apply for a refund from a $3 million government fund.
Everest College’s homepage has been taken down. In its place is a notice stating that “Everest Colleges Canada, Inc. Files for Canadian Bankruptcy Protection Following Ontario Ministry Closures.”