State regulators have shut down a Bay Area college and accused it of false accreditation claims and financial problems, ending classes for about 250 students.

The for-profit Institute of Medical Education, which has Oakland and San Jose campuses, was closed Wednesday by the California Bureau for Private Postsecondary Education after investigators determined it had deceived students enrolled in programs such as dental hygiene, nursing and other medical fields.

"They've had operational problems, they've had accreditation problems and they've had financial problems," said Russ Heimerich, a spokesman for the Department of Consumer Affairs, which runs the regulatory bureau.

The institute is accredited by the region's primary agency, the Western Association of Schools and Colleges. It was not immediately clear which accreditation the school was lacking.

Regulators had given the school three days to answer questions about its academics and finances, said Khoi Lam, the institute's operations director. The institute recently cut tuition in half -- from $33,000 to $16,500 for nursing, for example -- after a federal agency said it would cut off student financial aid, Lam said.

School leaders may sue the state to prevent the closure, he said.

"It's a little ridiculous," Lam said. "We definitely feel we have been cheated by the state's decision."


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Heimerich said regulators would be at both campuses Thursday to help answer questions for displaced students. Students should not pay the school any money, he said.

Matt Krupnick covers higher education. Contact him at 510-208-6488. Follow him at Twitter.com/mattkrupnick.