Students, Staff Devastated After Heritage Institute Closes Its Doors In Fort Myers, Nationwide Without Warning

After 30 years of educating southwest Florida residents, Heritage Institute – a for-profit college – suddenly closes its doors in Fort Myers, as well as the other nine campuses across the country, according to the Wink News.

When students arrived at the campus off Daniels and Metro parkways on the morning of November 1, they noticed the doors were locked with a note that read, “It is with great disappointment that we announce that Heritage Institute and Heritage College are permanently closing on November 1. The closure will affect all 10 campuses.”

“The reason for the campus closure is that Heritage does not have the cash to continue to run its business. Numerous factors contributed to the circumstances, including declining student population and a continued, decreased demand for the services of for-profit schools.”

“Heritage did not close due to wrongdoing or a forced closure by a regulatory body, and we did explore a range of options that would have enabled the campuses to remain open, servicing students. Unfortunately, the options were not viable and our efforts proved unsuccessful.”

“We thank our faculty, staff and mostly, our students,” the note continued.

“They had the courage to pursue a new career path and we were honored to help them achieve their goals.”

Student Machelle Hatter stated that although she didn’t have any classes that day, a classmate texted her about the school closing and when she tried getting in contact with administrators in the front office, no one picked up the phones.

Hundreds of students were devastated after learning of Heritage Institute closing as many have had to take out school loans and make sacrifices to attend the for-profit school. Some were even weeks away from graduating while others were just starting or halfway through their program.

However, due to the school’s non-transferrable credits, many students are asking “what do I do now?”

Frank Joseph, who was a student at Heritage Institute was also devastated by the sudden school closure, saying “tell us the truth. “You [Heritage Institute] are taking our money and most of us have been here and are about to graduate.”

Another student, Tiffany Miller, was due to graduate with a degree in medical technology in the upcoming months, stated that “they just ripped the rug out from under people.”

Miller went on to say that the school closure “caught her off guard” as they “got new vending machines this week, there was no sign or indication that anything was wrong. I mean we were in class last night.”

Staff and instructors were just as stunned as students, claiming they were made aware of Heritage Institute closing its doors on the day they arrive to work Tuesday morning.

Janet Andujar, who is a medical instructor at the college, stated that staff and instructors were forced to “pack up their belongings and leave campus – some even left crying.”

Instead of leaving the campus, she stayed behind to comfort students. She said, “I’m still standing here because my commitment wasn’t to the school, but to those students.”

She will be getting in contact with students to help them figure out their next plan and to encourage them to “continue and don’t give up because we still believe in you.”

After Heritage Institute announced its closure, the Colorado Department of Higher Education released the following statement, “The Colorado Department of Higher Education’s Division of Private Occupational Schools has not received word directly from Heritage College that they are closing or have closed. However, we have heard from a number of reliable sources that Heritage closed all 10 of its locations today, including its campus in Colorado.”

“Assuming this to be true, we will begin immediately working with remaining Heritage College administration and the accrediting agency to identify other schools that will be willing and able to continue to educate the displaced students.”

The Commission for Independent Education has provided Heritage Institute students information regarding transcripts and educational options.

[Featured Image By Steve Shepard/iStock]