The future of Corinthian-owned Heald, Everest and WyoTech career colleges remains uncertain after the troubled company and the U.S. Department of Education on Tuesday were unable to agree on a plan to sell or phase out its more than 100 campuses.

The deadline was midnight Tuesday, but talks will continue, said Ted Mitchell, an education department undersecretary.

"We did not reach an agreement yet with Corinthian officials," Mitchell said in a statement, but he was optimistic that talks over the next few days would "produce an acceptable plan ... that protects the interests of students and taxpayers."

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

The California-based career college giant, which receives more than $1 billion in taxpayer-funded federal aid each year, has come under intensifying scrutiny from state and federal agencies over allegations it deceives students about the value of its expensive programs and that it has falsified job-placement and attendance records.

Last month, the publicly traded company -- with some 27,000 students in California alone -- announced it might go out of business. The Department of Education had blocked the company's access to federal student aid dollars for three weeks as a sanction for failing to produce documents requested in an investigation into its practices, according to the department.


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Days later, the department announced it would give Corinthian $16 million for a more orderly shutdown and that the company would have to submit a plan by July 1 to phase out or sell its campuses.

Corinthian is already seeking buyers for its 12 Heald campuses, it reported in a Monday filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Ten are in California, and five are in the greater Bay Area -- in Concord, Hayward, San Francisco, San Jose and Stockton.

Hours after the Tuesday deadline passed, Corinthian issued a statement saying that it "continues to work cooperatively with the U.S. Department of Education" and stating that it also expects an agreement in the next few days.

Follow Katy Murphy at Twitter.com/katymurphy.