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Tue June 24, 2014
Laramie's WyoTech Faces Uncertain Future
Laramie’s WyoTech automotive trade school will remain operational, but faces an uncertain future.
WyoTech’s parent company—Corinthian Colleges—is clashing with regulators, who accuse the for-profit company of falsifying job placement rates and misleading students about financial aid.
Monday, Corinthian reached an agreement with the Department of Education which will keep federal aid flowing—and the doors on its 90 campuses nationwide open—while a long-term operational plan is developed.
That plan will likely involve selling some of its schools and gradually closing others by “teaching out”—or accepting no new students but finishing the program for those already enrolled. A Corinthian spokesman said that Laramie’s WyoTech will remain open, but could provide no further plans for the campus.
WyoTech is one of Laramie’s largest employers—with more than 200 workers. It enrolls about 750 students.
Dan Furphy is President and CEO of the Laramie Chamber Business Alliance. He says if WyoTech were to close, it’d be devastating for the local economy.
“That tuition is about $30,000 a year, so that’s big dollars coming to our community,” Furphy said. “And the impact on our services industries—grocery stores, service stations, all the retail, etcetera. So that would have huge impact if they left this community.”
Furphy says he’s confident that Corinthian will have little trouble finding a buyer, if it looks to sell WyoTech.
“I’m a Laramie native and so, I’ve seen changes in ownership in WyoTech several times over the years,” Furphy said. “Even if Corinthian had a difficult time, I would think there would be another buyer for WyoTech out there, in that it has been a profitable school for all of those 40 years it’s been in existence here.”
Laramie’s WyoTech boasts an 88 percent job placement rate—and says the median debt for a program graduate is $13-thousand dollars.
Corinthian’s new operating agreement with the Department of Education should be finalized by July 1.