Abrupt closure for health training school

May 16, 2011 8:39:18 PM PDT
More than 100 students learning to become medical and dental assistants have been shocked to found out their school has shut its doors.

Students were originally told the school would reopen Monday under new management. That didn't happen.

"Now, there're tons of students out of school, no place to go. I'm almost three quarters the way through my program," Carol Dorland from Northeast Philadelphia told Action News.

Dorland is one of those reeling from the news posted on the front door to the Delaware Valley Academy saying DVA, a fixture at Grant Avenue and Academy Road, has shut down.

Students paid $16,000 for a 9-month course to become a medical or dental assistant.

Stacey Florio of the Northeast took out a 90-percent loan; the now defunct for-profit has her money.

"You have to pay the loan back. I was told you still have to pay it back whether you get your education or not. That's not fair," Florio said.

DVA, opened since 1966, has garnered awards in the past. But for months, staffers say money was tight, then paychecks stopped coming.

"They told us to file for unemployment even though we worked," former DVA instructor Christin McLean said.

There may be a safety net to help current students.

The state says DVA was required to be part of an insurance plan to allow students of closed schools to finish their classes elsewhere or possibly be reimbursed for their tuition.

Still, Carol Dorland is worried as she learned her loan account was tapped for more than her $16,000 tuition.

"I found out today that my loan was disbursed for $22,372," Dorland said, adding, "Nobody can answer my questions."

A lot of questions remain in this situation. The state is expected to make a statement concerning the insurance plan on Tuesday.