9 Investigates: College bankruptcy leaves students in debt, out of school



DELAND, Fla. - By the time Angley College filed suit against its former chief executive officer in 2010 amid allegations that he misused hundreds of thousands of dollars in financial aid, the small for-profit school was already in financial distress.

Documents obtained by Eyewitness News show the school was having issues with its federal Pell Grants, and by the time it filed for bankruptcy it had more than $1 million in liabilities and less than $50,000 in assets.

The college, with campuses in Sanford and DeLand, had been open for almost a decade, priding itself on small class sizes and individual attention the school offered medical and business courses to thousands of students. However, in 2011 the college closed its doors leaving many students with loans and no classes.

Angley set up a trade with Florida Tech, allowing students to transfer and continue their education. The school also provided counseling to students with outstanding loans on how to begin the process of loan forgiveness for those who had federally backed loans. For years, Angley had paid into a fund dedicated to repayment of loans in the event that the school closed.

Despite the work by the school, some students were left out. Nyeesha Gunter, mother of two, was one of those students, left with books and a $5,000 loan, but no school.

"I'm a stay-at-home mom, so how can I pay $5,000 back," said Gunter. "I tried to send them back the books and they would not take the books back."

Gunter's situation is not unfamiliar in the for-profit college world where loan default rates are typically higher than graduation rates, according a study by the U.S. Senate.

With help from Channel 9 Eyewitness News, Gunter was given information on where to apply to have her federal loan forgiven, since the school closed and she was unable to finish her education.

Because Gunter's loan was federally backed, she is eligible to have it forgiven. However, private loans do not operate in the same manner. Under a private loan between a bank and a student, the money is released to the institution for the student's use. If the college should close, the student would still be responsible for the loan, with very few lenders offering any type of forgiveness program.