King's College, a for-profit trade school on the outskirts of uptown Charlotte, announced this week it is closing. Officials cited low enrollment, with about 120 students left to graduate in December.
The school, which offers courses in such fields as computer programming, graphic design and paralegal work, opened as a business college in 1901. It will accept no new students and close after the final graduation, said President Marty Calihan.
"We're proud of what King's College has been as a part of the community over the past 117 years," Calihan said Thursday.
The North Carolina Attorney General's Office is reviewing complaints from about 20 King's students, a spokeswoman said Thursday, but the content of those complaints was not immediately available.
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Last year the U.S. Department of Education calculated debt-to-earning rates for career training programs in hopes of giving students more information about their hopes of paying off loans. If the estimated annual 10-year loan payment exceeded 8 percent of the average income for that field, the department labeled the program a bad risk for federal student aid.
Three of the nine programs at King's fell close to the 8 percent mark — office administration was just above and medical assisting and graphic design were just below. The others — accounting, computer programming, medical assisting (diploma), network management, paralegal studies and travel/tourism management — were well below that mark.
None of the King's programs were near the 12 percent mark that led to the label of "failing program."
"Note that, if someone graduates with debt equal to about 57% of annual earnings two years after graduation, the debt can be paid off over ten years with approximately 8% of those year two annual earnings," the King's website says. "Thus, King’s College is proud to report that the above data show that most students graduate with debt totaling less than 57% of what they are earning two years later."
It's the second closing of a for-profit college in Charlotte within a year. Charlotte School of Law, run by the Florida-based InfiLaw Corp., closed in August after months of drama and controversy, with enrollment plunging and federal aid cut off based on low pass rates on the state bar exam.