Students react to sudden closure of CT technical school - WFSB 3 Connecticut

Students react to sudden closure of CT technical school

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Students found this letter posted to the door of the Ridley-Lowell Institute on Wednesday (WFSB) Students found this letter posted to the door of the Ridley-Lowell Institute on Wednesday (WFSB)

Some technical students in Connecticut had their semesters cut short after their school closed without any notice.

On Thursday, Ridley-Lowell Business & Technical Institute officials sent an email to students saying all future classes and programs are canceled, and all campuses are now closed.

The institute has locations in New London and Danbury.

“It's just frustrating because the teachers had no warning, like my teacher came in to check on me for normal stuff and had no idea,” said Grace Leonardi, who joined the school’s campus in New London in August.

“I'm just really lost. I don't know what to do. I have a daughter she is 2 years old and I was going to school to better myself for her,” Leonardi said.

She was in the dental assisting program, expecting to graduate in just a few months.

“I had 200 hours, maybe 250 hours left to finish and I was done,” she said.

Some students say they received an email from the school, others say they showed up and saw a note on the door.

The Department of Education said Ridley-Lowell claims they were trying to get their accreditation restored.

While doing that, they racked up debt, which led to their closure.

Connecticut’s Office of Higher Education said in part its “priority at this time is to ensure that students affected by the sudden closure of Ridley-Lowell’s campuses are protected and provided with all the opportunities available to them to continue their education.”

For those who are students, the Department of Education said they can apply to get their money back or get transferred to another school.

For more information, click here.

On Thursday, Congressman Joe Courtney sent a letter to Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos calling on her to provide resources and debt relief to the students and recent graduates of the institute.

“The sudden and stunning decision by Ridley-Lowell Business & Technical Institute to cease operations with no notice to students or staff screams out for action by the U.S. Department of Education and the Department of Veterans’ Affairs. Many of the students used federal student loans and grant programs to pay tuition, and it is imperative that the Dept. of Ed exercises its statutory authority to protect both taxpayers and the students who put their faith in this school’s promise of a certificate that would provide gainful employment. My letter is simply asking for the same swift action that has been used in the past with similar situations such as ITT Tech and Corinthian Colleges. As a member of House Education and the Workforce Committee, my office and committee staff will be aggressively pursuing relief for these students," Courtney said.

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