Northwestern College students unsure if they'll get money back, credits transferred after closure

Michelle Gallardo Image
Monday, July 8, 2024
Students' money, credits hang in balance after suburban college closes
Northwestern College students are unsure what will happen to money they paid or if credits they earned after the Oak Lawn, Illinois school closed.

OAK LAWN, Ill. (WLS) -- Northwestern College moved its campus from Bridgeview to an Oak Lawn location just under two years ago.

The building has gone dark on Monday. A letter on the door indicates that the college has permanently closed as of Saturday.

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"Today was supposed to be our first day. I actually did some of my homework, thinking today was going to be the first day," said nursing student Destiny Cabral.

The abrupt closure, which the college blames on its fiscal position, appears to leave its 500-odd students high and dry. They are unsure about what will happen to the money they've already paid out.

"For me to attend, I had to put down a down payment of $6,000. I don't know if I'll get that back. Or will I ever see it again? Will I see my private loans? Because some of us took private loans, because FAFSA couldn't cover everything," Cabral said.

There are also questions about whether the students' credits will transfer.

In a letter sent to the student body, college officials appear to offer a path forward, stating that "To aid students, we have worked with institutions that offer similar programs to work with Northwestern College students to be able to finish their programs."

Some say the problem is that the options given are either significantly more expensive or won't admit them without courses they don't have.

"Pretty much, we're going to have to start from scratch. We're going to have to start a new program, because most of these schools, pretty much all of them, are giving me a 'no,'" said nursing student Cynthia Razo

Dentistry student Trenette Gresham is expecting her third child come September. She has been balancing family and work to carve out a better life.

"I was excited to get started to try a new journey, especially with bringing in a new baby. So now, it's just a slap in the face," Gresham said.

And while it's not clear how long the college has been struggling with financial issues, according to the U.S. Department of Education's website, they were, at least as of last year, under what is referred to as "heightened cash monitoring."