Paramedic college shuts down before students graduation

Paramedic college shuts down before students graduation

MERIDIAN, Idaho (KBOI) - A paramedic school shut its doors last Tuesday leaving students with a lot of questions.  Guardian college of Meridian teaches students courses on paramedic training in preparation for paramedic certification.  The owner says the school is certified to graduate students for course work  to pass an exam students need to get a job. 

Students say they were told the college would shut down and the school would not graduate their class. "They told us doors are closing on Tuesday this will be your last class. and I was shocked. I didn't know what to do," Taylor Burkhardt said.

Shutting down the school caught students off guard. "I wasn't very happy about it obviously. I put all that time and money, $16,000 into the program. This is a career I want to pursue. This is my dream job. it was disheartening," Travis Hall said.

The owner Loralei Sterkie would not go on camera but she did tell KBOI over the phone that she told the students she would try to get them to finish out their training at another school. She said that she tried to keep her doors open as long as she could but because of changing federal regulations with student loans, admissions drastically declined.  "You want to know the real reason why I had to close the school?  It was because of Obamacare," Sterkie said.  "They took away private student loans that you would go to Wells Fargo to get, you wouldn't have to pay until you finished your classes."

Sterkie said she closed after the latest graduates finished up but there were still about 9 students that were left without finishing. She says that her landlord would not let her stay open until they finished. 

Students were trying desperately to find a way to finish their course work that started in September and finished May 6th. Students say they weren't told anything about if they could get there tuition back or if they could transfer to another school.  Guardian's owner said, "They were told that, when we informed them of the school closure. They may not remember it because it was a statement they did not want to hear."

Loralei Sterkie says she is working with the Idaho Department of Education to try to work out a way to get students refunds and to find a school that would let her students finish out their work.  Guardian students did their homework as well and they say they found a school that had a similar certifications to their college and asked them about transferring. " They said they weren't interested in taking our course work for their program." One student said.

Students do their paramedic work four days a week, Monday through Thursday from 6 to 10 pm. They say the course was nine months long.  Students say they were required to take all the course work and do an internship as well as do personnel training. 

Sterkie says she will make sure that students get their transcripts in the mail as soon as they are prepared.  She hopes to resolve the financial issues and try to get her doors back open.

The remaining students are hoping they can get the tuition refunded, but they would rather finish their course work instead. "Right now I just want to finish the course.  It wouldn't matter how or where we'd be able to finish the course.  I would take the course out the back of the dumpster, out of the back of the building here as long as we could finish."