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June 29, 2015

Corinthian Colleges once owned more than 90 schools across the United States, enrolling students in programs like medical billing and criminal justice. Now, the for-profit company has been shut down, fined by the federal government for the tactics it used to recruit students. 

In reporting that story, On Campus met with graduates of a Corinthian-owned school in Boston. They are working with the state of Massachusetts to try to get their federal student loan debt erased. Below, some of those students share what it's like to have a degree from an institution under federal investigation.

BRITTNEY PATIENT, 25

Graduate of Everest Institute, medical administrative assistant

Receptionist at an orthopedic practice, $9,000 in debt

"Both of my parents are currently in prison and were at the time, and I just wanted to be nothing like them. I just wanted to start over for my son. Now, I just don’t feel like there’s anything to be proud of. I mean, yes, I did complete a course. Yes, I do still have the diploma that I completed the course. But I just feel like something more bad came out of it than good. Here I am with this big bill, all because I was young, rushed into something and didn’t read the papers. 

But as far as my kids being in the same shoes that I was in, I would be there with them, to read that piece of paper with them. My kids won’t be venturing off to college without me. I’ll be there."

BRIAN CHAMBLISS, 31

Graduate of Everest Institute, dental assistant

Security guard, $16,000 in debt

"After me being incarcerated, in and out of jail, I decided to do something with my life. I just wanted to finish something, I wanted to finish a program, wanted people in my family to be proud of me, say 'You did something. Granted you didn't have a high school diploma, but you got a certificate that means something.' I feel like, it wasn't meaningful. I wasn't learning anything. In hindsight, how I look at it now, maybe I should have chosen a different avenue to go down, but at that point in my life I needed to do something.

I'm happy but I'm not satisfied in my life right now. Where I've come from, a few years back, I'm in a better situation. I am employed, it's not full-time, but I'm doing something productive with my life. I get up and I'm happy that I have a job, because it's better than where I was at. For my kids sake, I'm just going to instill great values and try to be a positive role model for them, as men, that's what I want to do."

SALLY TEIXEIRA, 30

Graduate of Everest Institute, medical administrative assistant

Deli clerk, $10,000 in debt

"I'm barely making it. I had to put all my plans on deferment. Yeah, I'm behind on a lot of things, because I went to school thinking I was going to be making $20 an hour, because that's what a lot of [Everest's] job descriptions would be. But, I can't get in anywhere. It's frustrating, I just do deli take out. I'm not 40 hours, I do 35 hours here. But, working as a single mom that's all I can do. So I told Sallie Mae I'm not going to pay them back until I get a job doing what I went to school for. Even if it is just getting myself in, but here I can't make it.

No, I [don't put my degree on job applications]. I used to put it down for other jobs, like medical, but I feel like they're not trying to hire me because I went to Everest. I don't know if that's like a red flag for them. But when I don't put it down is when I get called for an interview. And then I say it when I'm in an interview, I don't get called."

Former Corinthian students can find out more information at studentaid.gov/corinthian or by calling (855) 279-6207. 

Molly Boigon contributed to this report. 

confronting cost, corinthian colleges, for-profit

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