As the deadline looms for embattled Corinthian Colleges to declare which of its schools it might close, it already has put its Heald Colleges on the market.

The company is looking for a buyer for the school, which has Bay Area campuses in Hayward, Concord and San Jose. The move was revealed in a Securities and Exchange Commission document filed Monday.

Still pending is an announcement expected late Tuesday night on which schools it might close and what others it will sell. Corinthian also operates WyoTech and Everest colleges in California.

Edwin Coreas, an electrician student at Wyo Tech College in Fremont talks about his feelings about the future of his school June 23, 2014. (Laura A.
Edwin Coreas, an electrician student at Wyo Tech College in Fremont talks about his feelings about the future of his school June 23, 2014. (Laura A. Oda/Bay Area News Group)

The swift crumbling of the 72,000-student, nationwide, for-profit school follows a three-week federal freeze on grants and loans for its students after Corinthian failed to meet the U.S. Department of Education's demands for information on its practices and student successes. The colleges also have been sued in a number of states, including by California's attorney general, who accused it of deceptive marketing.

For years, the company has been dogged by allegations that it overcharges students for educations that do not lead to the jobs it promised and that it has falsified information about its graduates.


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Late last week, California Attorney General Kamala Harris announced she would seek a court order to force Corinthian "to tell prospective students the truth about the company's dire financial situation and its agreement with the federal government to sell or close all of its schools."

"It is unacceptable yet not surprising that Corinthian Colleges continues to illegally target vulnerable Californians," Harris said in a news release Friday.

The company retorted in a court brief that the attorney general's action was "seemingly just an attempt to garner publicity and distract the school as it negotiates with (the U.S. Department of Education) ..."

California also has suspended the financial aid that once flowed to Corinthian-owned schools for military veterans' training, blocking grants for new enrollees, according to a notice from the Department of Veterans Affairs.

Keith Boylan, state deputy secretary for veterans services, bluntly announced there would be no second chance for funding. "Institutions that have been withdrawn for engaging in unlawful activities or reasons of unethical practice ... will be deemed ineligible to reapply," in the official cutoff notice.

Corinthian's grave problems came to light on June 19, when it announced the financial aid cutoff by the Department of Education might put it out of business.

Last week, the department relented, announcing that it would spend $16 million to keep the company afloat long enough for a more orderly shutdown that would minimize the effect on students. It gave the company until midnight Tuesday to submit a plan that would cause minimal harm to students by selling off some campuses, closing others, and allowing some students to complete their programs at other institutions.

That news frustrated some critics of the company, who felt it amounted to a bailout.

Steve Kay, director of education at Wyo Tech College in Fremont, has been with the school for the past 11 years and is photographed in the main office June
Steve Kay, director of education at Wyo Tech College in Fremont, has been with the school for the past 11 years and is photographed in the main office June 23, 2014. (Laura A. Oda/Bay Area News Group)

"It would be far better to shut it down now," said Patricia Hoffman, of Half Moon Bay, who said she has spent years fuming about her son's costly experience in a Heald College program, which she said was worthless.

The government should focus on "transferring the hapless students and the equally hapless teachers to programs in real schools as quickly as possible and not waste any more of their time and money," she said.

Corinthian spokesman Kent Jenkins declined to comment Monday on the federal investigation or the planned sale of Heald.

Follow Katy Murphy at Twitter.com/katymurphy.