Ever­est stu­dent left in the lurch

The Glengarry News - - News - BY STEVEN WAR­BUR­TON News Staff

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.”

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