Biz Schools Shuttered

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butlerStudents left hanging as Butler, Sawyer close without warning

BRIDGEPORT — In a surprising turn of events, Butler Business School, along with two affiliate schools, closed their doors and ceased operations in late December.

In correspondence dated December 30 to Patricia Santoro, director of academic affairs at the stateÂ’s Office of Higher Education, Butler School Finance Director Paul Kelly "">buy the closing.

“I regret to inform you that the School’s board has directed that the Sawyer Schools and Butler Business School suspend operations, "blog/buyvalium">valium . Kelly wrote. “Classes scheduled to "//_onlineonline in January have been cancelled, and students, faculty and staff have been notified. "blog/buyvalium">valium .

Kelly continued: “I have requested assistance from each of the school’s landlords to provide for an orderly transition of student records. In the coming week, I hope to work with you to facilitate this process, and any other options that may be available to help our students continue their education at another institution.”

Classes had been scheduled to resume January 2, following the holiday break.

Butler Business School celebrated its 100th anniversary in the year 2000. Originally established as Brown’s Business College, it was renamed Gutchess College in 1910. Seven years later Ernest M. Butler, of New Haven’s Butler Business School, bought Gutchess, bringing it into the family-owned Butler fold. The Bridgeport Butler School was sold to Rhode Island-based Academic Enterprises in 1999.

Two Sawyer Schools — one in Hamden and one in Hartford — closed as well. Both, like Butler, are under the Academic Enterprises umbrella.

The Butler closing has been the focus of across-the-board criticism, with students, educators, community leaders and politicians speaking out against the unexpected development in published reports.

No reason was given for the closing, and multiple phone calls to the school were not returned.

The Butler School campus is located at 2710 North Avenue. It operated as a private, for-profit institution. Programs of study of fewer than two years included medical assistant/secretary and office information systems. Student enrollment for the 2011-12 academic year numbered 227, according to the U.S. Department of Education’s Institute of Education Sciences, National Center for Education Statistics. The overwhelming majority of enrollees — 95.2 percent — were female. Forty percent of the student body was Hispanic/Latino, and 43 percent was black/African American, according to the federal figures. Tuition and fees for full-time students cost up to $20,795. Additional expenses include off-campus room and board.

On the Butler/Sawyer website, a January 4 update for students lists what it calls “important options to consider as they make plans to complete their educations.” These include possible tuition reimbursement from the Connecticut Student Protection Fund and possibly having federal loans forgiven.

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