Ninety-nine students have been affected in total: 60 at Cornerstone, 23 at UCCBT and 16 at KGIBC.
Both career colleges, UCCBT and KGIBC, also have campuses in British Columbia, which are still in operation.
“Ministry staff have begun assessing the needs of the impacted vocational students”
However, more closures are on the way, one of KGIC’s creditors has confirmed. The closures come a month after the company was placed into receivership and appear to be part of a restructuring plan by its court-appointed receiver.
KGIC closed all three schools voluntarily, a spokesperson for the Ontario Ministry of Advanced Education and Skills Development told The PIE News.
Students at the two career colleges, UCCBT and KGIBC, are protected by Ontario’s Training Completion Assurance Fund, which means they won’t have to pay additional fees to complete their training at another provider.
“Ministry staff have begun assessing the needs of the impacted vocational students, and are exploring the programmes available at other private career colleges to determine the best options for the students to complete their training,” MAESD’s spokesperson said.
UCCBT Toronto has also offered students the option to transfer to UCCBT Vancouver or KGIBC Vancouver.
In a letter to partner agencies on March 1, UCCBT’s brand director, Scott Bradbury, offered a $1,000 tuition credit for each transferring student “to assist your student with the airfare and moving costs associated with transitioning” to either school.
However, Jorge Lacerda, founder and director of Express International Education & Careers, who had sent seven students to UCCBT Toronto and has three more waiting for visas, contended: “They know the students are not going to move to Vancouver.”
“Who would send their students to an institution that just shut down two schools within a week?” he challenged.
“The trouble that the agents are going through – our reputation’s in jeopardy. I have to look after the best interests of students.”
The school had been slashing prices for months in the hope of attracting more students. A price list circulated to agents shows a $10,400 business administration course marked down by a third to $7,280, with shorter courses discounted by up to $1,500.
Cornerstone Academic College, a KGIC-owned language school in Toronto, also closed on February 28.
Forty-nine international students have been affected by the closure but will be placed in other schools in the area by Monday 6 through Languages Canada‘s Education Completion Assurance Program, said the association’s executive director, Gonzalo Peralta.
“We are very sorry that students have been impacted by this event, and promise to move quickly in order to minimise impact on them,” Peralta told The PIE News.
“We are working with regulators closely to ensure procedures are being followed, and the process will be done in an orderly manner”
“Languages Canada is working with the receiver and the Ontario government to ensure students are able to complete their studies at another Languages Canada member programme.”
KGIC, which has 18 school campuses across British Columbia and Ontario, has been struggling financially over the last two years, with revenue declining consistently over that time. Cornerstone’s Vancouver campus closed in September 2015, along with two other KGIC campuses.
And in its most recent financial statement, the company reported a net loss of $1.7m for the third quarter of 2016, along with adjusted negative EBITDA of $1.35m.
The company was placed into receivership in January, after a financial entity owned by CIBT Education Group bought and demanded repayment of $12.3m of the school’s debt.
BDO Canada was appointed the official receiver overseeing the restructuring and likely sale of KGIC. Sprott Shaw Degree College Corp, another subsidiary of CIBT, was placed in charge of its day-to-day operations.
Speaking with The PIE News, CIBT CEO Toby Chu confirmed “a few” more KGIC campuses will close, but added that “students will not be adversely affected”.
“We are working with regulators closely to ensure that the transfer procedures are being followed, and the process will be done in an orderly manner,” he said. “In most cases, several schools are being consolidated into one, not eliminating all the schools in their entirety.”
“Had the original secured creditor (the bank) taken its action on January 25 instead of CIBT Group, I would imagine that a financial institution’s approach would be quite different than ours,” he added.
The PIE News has reached out to Cornerstone Academic College, UCCBT and KGIC for comment.