Sawyer closing scatters students

By Rhonda Miller
PBN Staff Writer

Why the Sawyer School closed without notice at the end of December remains a mystery three months later to the state and 302 Rhode Island students who have been left to find new schools or career paths. More

To continue reading this article, please do one of the following.



EDUCATION

Sawyer closing scatters students

PBN PHOTO/RUPERT WHITELEY
TRANSFER STUDENTS: More than 300 students were left in the lurch after the Sawyer School shut down suddenly in December. Some students, including McKayla Ivins and Daniel Johnson, pictured above, transferred to Lincoln Technical Institute.

By Rhonda Miller
PBN Staff Writer

Posted 4/1/13

Why the Sawyer School closed without notice at the end of December remains a mystery three months later to the state and 302 Rhode Island students who have been left to find new schools or career paths.

The few details that have emerged since hint at hidden financial issues, including $800,000 in owed federal taxes and a steep drop in federal student aid, from $7.4 million received for the 2011-2012 school year to $2.3 million for the 2012-2013 year, according to the U.S. Department of Education.

When the Sawyer School closed its Rhode Island and Connecticut campuses without warning, it was also appealing a $1.4 million judgment against it by DOE concerning problems with its management of federal financial aid.

While that potential liability was known to the state prior to the school closing, it was not enough to raise red flags about the school’s finances, said Mike Trainor, spokesman for the R.I. Office of Higher Education.

When state officials last August and September reviewed the school’s annual financial audit, the New York firm that did the audit determined the disputed money was not a “likely liability,” according to Trainor. And even if it did wind up having to pay DOE the $1.4 million, the state review at the time determined the school was in a strong enough financial position to easily absorb it, he said.

State and federal authorities have said little about pending investigations.

The R.I. State Police Financial Crimes Unit is reviewing financial, student and other documents, said state police spokesman Maj. Michael Winquist.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation was investigating Sawyer School after it shut down, Trainor said, but the agency would neither confirm nor deny an investigation last week.

For the 302 Rhode Island students and the estimated 1,200 students in Connecticut left in the lurch when schools operated by Academic Enterprises Inc. abruptly closed, solving the mystery of what happened is for investigators, and state and federal officials. Many of the former students have been busy rethinking and restarting their educational and career plans.

Next Page
Calendar
PBN Hosted
Events

Two Great Programs...One Great Event. PBN's Annual Celebration of Growth and Innovation is now underway. 2014 applications are now available. Deadline August 1st.
  • Healthiest Employers
    Celebrate with the Healthiest Employers in RI on August 14th at the Providence M ...
  • 40 Under Forty
    Thank you to our sponsors and to all those who attended the 10th Anniversary of ...
Advertisement
Purchase Data
Book of Lists
Lists
Book of Lists cover
PBN's annual Book of Lists has been an essential resource for the local business community for almost 30 years. The Book of Lists features a wealth of company rankings from a variety of fields and industries, including banking, health care, real estate, law, hospitality, education, not-for-profits, technology and many more.
Data icons
Data can be purchased as single lists, in either Excel or PDF format; the entire database of the published book, in Excel format; or a printed copy of the Book of Lists.
  • Purchase an e-File of a single list
  •  
  • Purchase an e-File of the entire Book of Lists database
  •  
  • Purchase a printed copy of the Book of Lists
  •  
    National
    Local
    Latest News
    Advertisement