Displaced Everest College students continue with training
More than six months after the closure of a private career college threw thousands of Ontario students into turmoil, the province has almost finished providing refunds or alternative ways to finish schooling.
The province suspended the Everest College's licence for the private career college's 14 campuses in February over financial concerns.
About 2,500 students who had paid tuition to Everest made claims for refunds or training completion arrangements.
While the province collects a fund from private career colleges for just such a situation, government documents show that figure would only cover refunding 40 percent of what students had paid. (The fund for Everest was about $3 million.)
The Ontario government has since pitched in an extra $7.3 million to cover refunds or other training completion.
Of the 1,672 students who opted to complete their training, 97 per cent are back in the classroom now, the ministry says — and 488 students have already completed their training. Of the remaining students, 24 are waiting for final approval of their Prior Learning Assessment Report, and 34 are waiting for their program to start.
Leena Poxleitner, who was close to finishing her massage therapy program at Everest College in Sudbury applied for a refund. She will now spend the next eight months commuting each week to Barrie to finish her courses at Georgian College.
With two young children, she said the situation is not ideal, but will work.
"I'm finally back in class. And I'm happy and I am very excited for this whole ordeal to be over," she said.
"I'm not too happy about being away from my three and five year old and my husband. We are concerned about winter driving. I have an apartment, which is an extra cost."
The province says all but 168 former students of Everest College have been provided tuition refunds or alternative opportunities to finish their programs.