Dade Medical College’s Oct. 30 closure was sudden and messy — and it also may have violated state and federal law.
Under Florida law, for-profit colleges that close must provide the state oversight agency a “teach out” plan for students to finish up their degree program at another school. The federal government also requires a teach out plan before a college shuts its doors.
In Dade Medical’s case, that didn’t happen. College owner Ernesto Perez simply closed up shop and left roughly 2,000 students in limbo.
On Thursday, a prominent for-profit college attorney called for Perez to be prosecuted for how the closure happened.
“It is a crime in the state of Florida to close a school improperly,” said Bob Harris, a Tallahassee attorney who represents multiple for-profit colleges. Harris’ public comments came during a meeting of Florida’s for-profit oversight agency, the Commission for Independent Education.
“This commission can go to the attorney general’s office, or a local state attorney’s office, provide them the documents to show that the owners of the school did not properly close the school,” Harris told CIE board members. “Those are criminal acts in the state of Florida.”
Florida law states it is a second-degree misdemeanor for “an owner, director or administrator who fails to notify the commission at least 30 days prior to the institution’s closure, or who fails to organize the orderly closure of the institution and the trainout of the students.”