Heritage Institute closes its doors in Jacksonville, nationwide

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Students are upset after they found out the vocational school they attend in Jacksonville closed its doors on Tuesday.

Heritage College and Heritage Institute is the latest in a series of for-profit colleges to close their doors in Jacksonville.

All 10 campuses of Heritage College and Heritage Institute are now closed, according to a note on the door of the for-profit school’s location in Jacksonville.

The note said the school did not have the cash to continue to run its business.

Action News Jax spoke with a student who was getting a degree in Spa Massage. She said she was set to graduate in a week.

"To find out that your school is closed when you’re about to graduate, and you worked really hard for so long, is disappointing," Amber Winter said.

Winter said she spent $18,000 on her degree during the last two years.

The school had locations in Jacksonville, Fort Myers, Ohio, Colorado, Kansas City-Missourri, Little Rock, Oklahoma City, Kansas and California.

Download the Action News Jax News app and First Alert Weather app

It offered training in dentistry, massage therapy and medical disciplines.

The note blamed financial problems and said no wrongdoing or regulatory force was behind the closure.

We called Heritage’s main office but got a recording that didn’t mention anything about the closure, “I really don’t know. I really want to try and get to the bottom of it, and figure out what I can do because I was literally about to graduate,” said Winter.

ITT Tech shut down earlier this summer and the Federal Trade Commission filed a lawsuit against DeVry University alleging deception about jobs and earning prospects.

The University of Phoenix is accused of similar deceptive practices and is currently under investigation.

Heritage College issued a statement on Tuesday:

It is with great disappointment that we announce that Heritage College and Heritage Institute are permanently closing on November 1, 2016. The closure will affect all 10 campuses.

Heritage College educated students for health care careers for 30 years, and this is very difficult news for everyone affected particularly our students, teachers, and staff.

The reason for the campus closures is that Heritage does not have the cash to continue to run its business. Numerous factors contributed to the circumstances including declining student population and a continued, decreased demand for the services of for-profit schools. Heritage did not close due to wrongdoing or a forced closure by a regulatory body, and we did explore a range of options that would have enabled the campuses to remain open serving students. Unfortunately, the options were not viable and our efforts proved unsuccessful.

We thank our faculty, staff and, mostly, our students. They had the courage to pursue a new career path and we were honored to help them achieve their goals."