CLIFTON, N.J. — Students said they received a text message within the last 24 hours notifying them that the job training school would be closing for good.
"You don’t tell us nothing!” cried out one student, as staff walked out the back door of the Clifton, New Jersey location with police and a security escort this afternoon.
Hundreds of students depended on Star Career Academy at locations in Toms River, Brick, Clifton, Egg Harbor and Newark, New Jersey; in Philadelphia; in New York City and Syosset. They provided medical, technology and culinary training for professional certificates.
Some students said they were just weeks, days, even hours away from graduation.
“I was almost done. Like I only had 8 hours left to finish my externship to be considered a graduate. And now I don’t even know what that even means anymore,” said Daisy Rouse, a mom of four children. She was looking forward to graduation.
“You know, looking out watching them be proud of their mother. But that’s not going to happen.”
Even teachers were locked out. One who came to return his keys, had to leave them at the door with a security guard.
“They told us we had a staff meeting, and then at the staff meeting they read that the schools were closing and we have 15 minutes to get our stuff. So, it was a surprise to us too,” said Lyndon Thomas, an instructor.
A spokesman declined to provide an interview but a statement from the school blamed the abrupt closure on “…the negative financial impact of a continued declining student population.”
Students have been unable to get more answers.
“You can call and you’re just gonna keep going around in answering machine,” said student Betty Jimenez.
According to the school’s website, students will be able to get their transcripts and refunds for student loans. But their press release makes no promises as far as awarding student certificates to those close to graduation.
“I think I wasted 10 months of my life, and $18,000 dollars,” said student Courtney Connolly, "I have nothing to show for it."