What You Should Know if Your School Closes
If your Washington state school should close without notice, please call our office as soon as possible – (360) 709-4600. A licensed private vocational school may close for any number of reasons. However, by regulation, a school must give its students and our office at least three days notice (WAC 490-105-210) and is responsible for protecting the contractual rights of present and former students. This does not always happen.
In all closures, our goal is to make certain that students’ needs are addressed. The information below will give you a general idea of your options in the event of this unfortunate circumstance.
- Teach-out – This term refers to the continuation of instruction to complete the program or course, when a school’s license has been revoked or when a school advises the Board that it intends to discontinue operations. Workforce Board staff will attempt to facilitate teach-out arrangements at a similar licensed private vocational school.
- Transfer – Students may make their own arrangements for the continuation of their education at another school in the event of a school closure.
- Loan Forgiveness – If you received a student loan through the U.S. Department of Education, you may qualify for loan discharge under certain circumstances. Please contact those agencies directly at the following addresses:
U.S. Department of Education:
For all federal student loans, contact your loan servicer.
The Workforce Board does not administer loan programs or process requests for loan forgiveness.
Tuition Recovery Trust Fund – All licensed private vocational schools pay into a tuition recovery trust fund. The fund’s purpose is to pay pro-rata refunds to students who paid their tuition in advance and were unable to complete their training due to the closure of their schools.
Specific Closed School Information - Even under the best of circumstances, it will take time to process resolutions for every student affected by an abrupt school closure. You should take the time to locate any documents that might substantiate your completion of coursework (transcripts, exams, invoice for payment of tuition, etc.) and prepare to make them available to Workforce Board staff if needed. You may call our office to obtain periodic updates regarding your claim against the tuition recovery trust fund.
You should also know that of the approximately 280 private licensed schools within Washington, roughly 30 of them close every year. There is no way to tell for sure which schools will close, but our Board takes every permissible action by statute and regulation to monitor and assist licensed schools so that abrupt closures are avoided. One of the primary functions of the Private Vocational School Unit is to provide consumer protection, a responsibility it takes very seriously. We will make every effort to provide the assistance students need to complete their education in the event of a school closure, and ultimately, get started in their chosen occupations.