Students, staff ‘blindsided’ as Star Academy abruptly closes schools
CHERRY HILL — The secondary school Star Career Academy has closed all of its locations citing financial difficulties.
Approximately 1,000 full-time students and 225 full and part time faculty & staff were notified via email and text on Tuesday morning of the closure. Tuesday was a scheduled day off for staff training so no students were at any of Star's locations in Brick, Clifton, Egg Harbor and Newark or its ServFast Computers in Toms River. The school also has locations in New York City and Philadelphia.
Star Academy is a secondary education that offered classes in programs of study such as health, business, cosmetology, culinary, hotel and restaurant management.
"Star Career Academy’s closing is the result of the negative financial impact of a continued declining student population while operating in the challenging for-profit post-secondary school industry. Star Career Academy has done everything in its power to prevent closure after operating for 37 years and providing a supportive educational environment for thousands of students," the school said in a statement on its website and social media.
Several people looked unhappy as they stood outside the Egg Harbor Township location
Taylor Olson, 21, of Manahawkin who started classes in surgical technology at the Brick location in August, told New Jersey 101.5 she was "blindsided" by the news and there was no indication of any financial difficulty. "We didn't see any of this coming," Olson said.
"It took me three years out of high school to finally decide to go to school and find something I genuinely enjoy doing. And out of the blue it gets ripped out from underneath me. It's very upsetting," Olson said.
The notification from the school also didn't indicate what would happen to their tuition. "I've paid a few hundred dollars a month for four or five months now. I don't know what's going to go on with getting my money back. I know my one friend in that class has $4,000 down which she's probably not going to get back."
In a post on their Facebook page, the school said they would be "performing the required Return to Title IV refund calculations over the next 30 days. Once that process is completed, you can begin your application for student loan discharge" and posted a link to a U.S. Department of Education page about the discharge of student loans.
A representative of Star Career Academy did not return a call for comment.
Students and staff with questions should call the school's main office at 856-719-0300.
Chris Coleman contributed to this report
Contact reporter Dan Alexander at Dan.Alexander@townsquaremedia.com.