LINCOLN, Neb. — A new state law allows students at Nebraska’s for-profit colleges to be protected financially if those schools suddenly close.
Under the measure passed May 16 and signed into law by the governor a week later, student records from for-profit schools that close will be sent to the University of Nebraska in Lincoln. Students can also recover lost tuition and fees if a school closes midterm, the Lincoln Journal Star reported.
“Students who turn to for-profit schools with the promise of a good education should have the opportunity to recover lost tuition and obtain academic records to help them further their education pursuits and careers,” said Sen. Patty Pansing Brooks, who proposed the measure. “This bill will help them do that.”
Those colleges must also reimburse the state if government-subsidized students are unable to finish an academic term because of a closure.
The measure is in response to last year’s ITT Technical Institute shutdown, which affected about 43,000 students nationwide and 340 at its Omaha campus. The lack of a plan left students scrambling to obtain transcripts.
“That’s what we really want to protect Nebraska students against in the future,” said Mike Baumgartner, executive director of the state Coordinating Commission for Postsecondary Education, which regulates for-profit colleges.
After Purdue University’s official purchase of Kaplan University, the state will have two for-profit schools offering bachelor’s degrees: Creative Center College of Art & Design in Omaha and National American University in Bellevue.
Those colleges will be required under this measure to pay into a fund operated by Baumgartner’s commission. If their school suddenly closes, students can submit claims against that fund for the lost tuition and fees.