Hundreds Of Students Left In Cold As BCTI Closes Up Shop

Hundreds Of Students Left In Cold As BCTI Closes Up Shop
SEATTLE - Hundreds of students who paid a local school up to $12,000 for career training are now locked out; the staff and equipment gone.

Without notice, the Business Career Training Institute went out of business, leaving students in limbo and state and federal regulators looking for answers as to just what happened at BCTI.

In Business Since 1986

The private training school promotes career training in computer technology. With seven campuses across the state, it's been recruiting students since 1986.

"This is what we came to this morning," said Eugene Seibert, standing in front of the locked doors at the BCTI location in Tukwila.

Peering through the glass doors and windows, you see empty desks and tables, but no computers. Most of the technical and office equipment was quietly cleared out over the weekend.

Student Oliver Smith was one of the few to get a "heads-up" call from one of the deans Sunday night.

"And she informed me that school would not be happening Monday," said Smith. "I asked if was a permanent closure and she said 'Yes, it was,' and began crying."

Ron Odom was attending BCTI on the GI Bill. Attending classes is required to get support money from the Veteran's Administration.

"I've got my business portfolio. I've got a book I was getting ready to publish that was on the computer... and it's all gone," Ron said.

'There Were Rumors'

Students say rumors of financial problems at BCTI has been quashed with reassurance. Odom told KOMO 4 News he was advised to keep his month shut when he got wind of possible closures.

Now, adding insult to injury, the students learned from a local businessman that the Tukwila building is for sale. Brokers knew about it as early as last week.

Seibert says he was deliberately betrayed.

"I feel like I've been lied to the whole time," he says. "I've been asking if this is gonna happen and they say 'No. We're not closing. We're not closing.' Yeah, they closed."

And BCTI still has some of their money. Vincent Gonzalez came all the way from Texas to attend the school. He was just weeks from graduating the first level.

Now, he fears he just wasted 6 months, with some new knowledge, but nothing marketable to show for all his work and expense.

"I don't know," says Vincent Gonzalez, "Do I owe? I don't know, am I gonna get any of it back? What's gonna happen? "

Private Training Industry Scrutinized

The sudden closures come at a time when private training schools face increased scrutiny nationwide over what they charge, what they promise and what students end up getting.

Right now, the U.S. Department of Education and the State Workforce Training and Education Coordinating board are investigating what happened at BCTI and what impact there will be on students.

Under state law, schools must either complete training or reimburse students for any training they paid for but did not receive. BCTI Students are being asked to contact one of the following:

U.S. Department of Education: 206-615-2594
Workforce Training: 360-753-5673

For More Information:

www.wtb.wa.gov