- Hussian College, a for-profit institution with campuses in four states, is closing, according to state regulators and its accreditor.
- The Tennessee Higher Education Commission, which oversees three of Hussian’s campuses, said all branches of the college largely shut down June 12, and would only remain operational to help students finish internships or clinical portions of their academic programs. The Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges also confirmed the institution’s closure.
- Hussian officials have not formally announced the shutdown. The college’s website merely states that it is not enrolling new students. Its chief executive, Joshua Figuli, did not respond to a request for comment Thursday.
For-profit colleges have earned bad press for abruptly shutting their doors and leaving students in the lurch. Such was the case with Corinthian Colleges’ closure in 2015 and ITT Technical Institute’s in 2016, which left tens of thousands of students with loan debt and no clear path to a degree. Both institutions faced state and federal investigations into accusations of subpar student outcomes, like low job placement rates.
Since then, the Obama and Biden administrations attempted regulatory crackdowns on for-profit colleges. Most recently, in May, the U.S. Department of Education proposed that career college programs would need to meet debt-to-earnings tests or risk losing federal funding.
Similar to other for-profits, Hussian appears to have fumbled its closure, according to press reports.
An email from Figuli made public shows that he told employees in late May that courses would resume on June 12, despite the fact that Hussian was laying off many of them.
But classes never started back up.
In the email, Figuli wrote that Hussian “cannot continue as is” and that the economic fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic continued to squeeze the college. He also referenced “unfortunate decisions by former management that have left Hussian in an untenable circumstance.”
Another email from Figuli, this one to students, said that the college’s governing board appointed him in May to replace former CEO Jeremiah Staropoli, with whom the board lost confidence, Figuli wrote.
Staropoli did not respond to a request for comment to his LinkedIn account on Thursday. His profile states he had been the college’s president and CEO for more than six years, and previously worked at for-profit chains like Education Corporation of America. That company owned dozens of proprietary colleges that shut down in 2018 after it lost access to federal funding and accreditation.
Hussian launched in 1946 as the Hussian School of Art, according to its website. It later shifted focus to technology, and in 1979, the Pennsylvania Department of Education approved it to offer an associate degree in specialized tech. The institution has since folded digital media courses into all of its concentrations.
It began a bachelor’s degree program in art in 2014 and adopted the Hussian College moniker in 2015. Hussian also offers programs in areas like business, criminal justice and health sciences.
In 2018, Hussian took over Daymar College, another for-profit institution that in 2015 settled with the state of Kentucky for $12.4 million over allegations it misled students about transfer and financial aid opportunities.
Daymar’s Kentucky campuses closed over time. It converted others across the country into Hussian’s.
In June 2022, the colleges’ accreditor, the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges, warned that the campuses may be out of compliance with its standards. ACCSC raised concerns about student achievement, though in December it ultimately approved the accreditation.
ACCSC said in a public statement it is working with state and federal agencies to help Hussian students find transfer options. The college has campuses in Ohio, Pennsylvania, California and Tennessee, as well as online programs.