FBI joins Sawyer probe, plus the latest from the Office of Higher Ed

Jan 8, 2013

The Sawyer School's Hartford Avenue branch in Providence. Photo by Elisabeth Harrison

The FBI has joined the investigation of the now-defunct Sawyer School, a for-profit technical college that closed its doors on the first of the year.

State police say they're seeking to determine whether there was any criminal wrongdoing, or whether this is simply a case of a business going under.

Either way, Sawyer's closure left roughly 300 Rhode Island students and 1,200 students in Connecticut with partially completed certificates to become medical office assistants and other office administrators.

State higher education officials went through Sawyer School offices over the weekend and removed student files and financial records. OHE Spokesman Mike Trainor says they are working to get students their academic records as quickly as possible so they can enroll  at other schools.

You can hear my full interview with Mike Trainor here.

Prior to its closure, Sawyer was a for-profit, non degree granting school enrolling 796 students in Rhode Island, according to the Federal Department of Education. The school charged annual tuition and fees of $20,795 for the 2011-2012 school year, the most recent year listed on the DOE's ipeds database.

85 percent of Sawyer School students received financial aid, the vast majority in the form of federal tuition assistance grants and federally subsidized student loans. The three-year default rate for Sawyer students on their loans is 27 percent, compared with a national default rate of 13.4 percent.