Humphreys College Reaches Out to Stranded Heald Students

FrontCoverTopWhen Heald College closed abruptly a little over a month ago, leaving its students stranded in the midst of their academic journey, the doors to Humphreys College opened.
In the past month, Humphreys College has welcomed about 150 former Heald students after Heald shut down all of its campuses in April following legal issues. Students had invested thousands of dollars and an endless amount of hours pursuing their associate degrees from Heald, only to learn they would not be able to continue their programs.
Humphreys leadership decided to reach out to former Heald students and offer them an opportunity to continue their college education by transferring to the private, nonprofit four-year college. Since then, the college has taken extraordinary measures to make the transition to their Stockton and Modesto campuses as smooth as possible.
“The recent and sudden closure of Heald College has put the educational prospects and the future of many of these students at risk, causing much uncertainty for these students,” said Humphrey’s Dean of Administration Wilma Okamoto-Vaughn.
Staff members at Humphreys continue to work with former Heald students on registering them for summer courses, applying for financial aid, and transferring credits from Heald. Fortunately, Okamoto-Vaughn said, Humphreys has similar academic programs that Heald offered, including paralegal studies, criminal justice, business and liberal arts.
Humphreys has also hired seven Heald instructors to continue teaching the courses that students were enrolled in at Heald at the time it closed, to allow the students to continue their studies uninterrupted, Okamoto-Vaughn said.
“It’s almost like they didn’t stop,” she said. ”It was a very smooth transition.”
Tuition at Humphreys is about $12,456 per year for a full-time student. Students can apply for financial aid. Humphreys is approved by the Federal Department of Education to offer subsidized and unsubsidized student loans, Pell grants, and Supplemental Education Opportunity Grants (SEOG), and veterans’ benefits, Okamoto-Vaughn said.
Many of the former Heald students had already purchased books and paid for their spring courses at Heald. Due to the circumstances, Humphreys is not charging the students to finish their spring courses at Humphreys.
Students who want to continue to pursue an associate’s degree at Humphreys, and perhaps continue on to earn a bachelor’s, will continue with summer courses on July 5.
“We wanted to do that to get them going. A lot of them were very devastated,” Wilma Okamoto-Vaughn said. “The worst thing is to have students depressed because they get off track and lost sight of their goals.”
Heald’s Sudden Closure
California Attorney General Kamala D. Harris filed a lawsuit in October 2013 against the company that operated Heald College, Corinthian Colleges, Inc., for false and predatory practices, including intentionally targeting “low-income, vulnerable Californians through deceptive and false advertisements and aggressive marketing campaigns that misrepresented job placement rates and school programs,” according to a press release by the Attorney General’s office.
Corinthian signed an operating agreement with the U.S. Department of Education in July 2014, according to a statement by Corinthian Colleges, and afterwards tried to sell its schools. But its efforts were unsuccessful due to federal and state regulators seeking to impose financial penalties and conditions on buyers, the company statement said.
In late April, Corinthian Colleges, Inc., announced that it was shutting down its 28 campuses, including 10 Heald campuses in California, after its failure to sale its schools, which included 13 WyoTech and Everest campuses in California.
“We believe that we have attempted to do everything within our power to provide a quality education and an opportunity for a better future for our students,” said Jack Massimino, CEO of Corinthian. “Unfortunately the current regulatory environment would not allow us to complete a transaction with several interested parties that would have allowed for a seamless transition for our students.”
For Humphreys efforts to help former Heald students, retiring president Robert Humphreys Sr. received the Community Service Award from the Greater Stockton Chamber of Commerce and recognition from the Central Valley Asian Chamber of Commerce.
“It’s something we wanted to do for the students,” Wilma Okamoto-Vaughn said. “It’s a win-win situation for everybody and I think everybody feels that way.”

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