TAMPA BAY TIMES: Tampa technical school closes doors in middle of session

Career College Central Summary:

  • Evan Mikowski isn't sure he'll become a paramedic after all.
  • That's because the school he was attending to earn his paramedic certification, Florida Medical Training Institute, shut its doors before he could graduate.
  • FMTI is a subsidiary of Lincoln Educational Services, a New Jersey company that owns for-profit colleges that provide associate and technical degrees. Earlier this month, Lincoln notified students and faculty on all five FMTI campuses, including the one in Tampa, that operations would cease at the end of December.
  • The campuses were hemorrhaging money, according to Scott Shaw, Lincoln's chief operating officer.
  • "The enrollments just weren't high enough for us to justify keeping them open, unfortunately," he said. "We tried to do it for as long as we could, keep it open. No one ever wants to close a school."
  • Students who were scheduled to graduate before the end of the month will be able to do so, Shaw added. Those who weren't due to complete their program before the new year will get a complete refund, but no degree.
  • Mikowski, 28, who was attending the 14-month course at the Tampa campus with about 100 other students, was scheduled to graduate in March, so he's out of luck. Another school, Orlando Medical Institute, offered to step in so the students could graduate. That arrangement is still pending.
  • "I want to try to keep this disruption to a minimum" for the students, Orlando Medical Institute president Felix Marquez said.

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