Letter to the Heald College Community

Dear Heald College Community,

Yesterday, Corinthian Colleges received two letters from the United States Education Department notifying Heald of 1) the Department’s Notice of Intent to Deny Recertification of Heald College Salinas and Stockton and 2) Notice of Intent to Fine Heald College.

These highly questionable, unsubstantiated allegations by the U.S. Department of Education regarding Heald College should not be allowed to shift focus away from the central fact that Heald has a well-documented track record of providing quality education and significant value to its students for more than 150 years—and should be allowed to continue to do so. When Heald students speak for themselves, as they did through a recent independent survey, more than 85 percent believe a quality education is exactly what they are receiving today. Heald graduates have been hired by major employers throughout the state, including the California Attorney General’s Office. Several high quality, well-qualified buyers have demonstrated an interest in purchasing Heald, which would allow its 9,000 students to continue their education and its more than 1,000 faculty and staff to keep their jobs.

The announcement by the U.S. Department of Education now further threatens Heald’s future by potentially imposing added financial and operational hurdles to prospective buyers. It would be no less than a travesty of fairness and justice if the Department were to rely upon selective, misleading, and highly technical, unsubstantiated allegations to thwart the sale of Heald. These unfounded, punitive actions do nothing to advance quality education in California, but would certainly shatter the dreams and aspirations of Heald students and the careers of its employees.

It is doubly disgraceful that the United States government would take these actions without providing either Heald or its parent Corinthian Colleges an opportunity to review, respond and rebut the charges. Until Monday of this week, the U.S. Department of Education provided no details regarding any of these allegations about Heald—neither before nor after entering into the operating agreement with Corinthian on July 8, 2014. Then, suddenly and precipitously, we received notice of the announcement. This one-sided presentation of “evidence” makes a mockery of due process.

While we have not yet had an opportunity to review fully the basis of the findings by the U.S. Department of Education, it is clear from a cursory reading that its conclusions regarding attendance and placement are flawed. The U.S. Department of Education has relied on faulty data and analyses discovered and disclosed more than 18 months ago. Hours prior to the release of the letters, we attempted unsuccessfully to forewarn the department that it should not rely upon data driven by a single erroneous report. The faulty approach used by the U.S. Department of Education on the question of grades and attendance at Salinas has led to erroneous and damaging conclusions. There is simply no excuse for a federal agency rushing to judgment so swiftly that it gets its basic facts wrong.

We plan to contest the Departments allegations about Heald’s failure to comply with regulations governing disclosure of job placement rates. We stand by our graduate placement rates, policies and procedures, and look forward to defending the College against these outrageous allegations. The Department has grossly misinterpreted and misrepresented graduate placement data provided by the College.

Eeva K Deshon
President & CEO
Heald College

We need your help to save Heald College.

We need your support to show Attorney General Harris that we are a community worth saving:

  • Sign our petition at www.saveheald.com
  • Visit your college's Facebook page for more information and to lend your voice to the #SaveHeald movement
  • Change your Facebook cover photo and profile picture to the #SaveHeald images
  • Follow us on Twitter @HealdCollege and share #SaveHeald content with your network

Dear Attorney General Harris:

We need your help to save Heald College, and we need it soon.

Heald College has a proud history of educating Californians and helping them achieve their life goals that stretches back more than 150 years. Among our alumni are people who helped shape the political, cultural, and commercial landscape of this great state. They include former Governor Hiram Johnson, Bank of America founder A. P. Giannini, and M. H. de Young, founder of San Francisco’s de Young Museum.

Today, Heald College remains a vibrant California institution that provides a quality education to approximately 9,000 students and employs some 1,500 people at 10 campuses in the state and two campuses in Oregon and Hawaii. Our academic credits are recognized by more than two dozen colleges and universities including California State University. A recent survey confirms that the vast majority (more than 85 percent) of our students are satisfied with the education they are receiving at Heald College and believe their education and training is valuable and provides benefits to them. Heald is highly regarded by the employers who hire our students and in the communities we serve.

Heald College occupies a unique position among California’s educational institutions. For some students, we are their first college experience. Approximately half of our students, however, have tried community college or a four year institution and have come to us after those institutions could not, or did not, meet their needs. A large number of our students work or have children and need the flexible class schedules and other services that we offer.

During its long history, Heald College has survived the devastating 1906 San Francisco earthquake and two world wars. But we are in grave danger of being closed because of unreasonable demands being made by lawyers in the Attorney General’s office who are suing our parent organization – demands that if not resolved will result in the shameful destruction of Heald College.

Five years ago, Heald College was purchased by Corinthian Colleges, Inc., which has now agreed with the U.S. Department of Education to sell or teach-out its schools and go out of business. As part of a settlement with the Department of Education, Corinthian closed about a dozen of its campuses in other states and sold more than 50 of the rest. Heald College is the largest remaining college owned by Corinthian.

Corinthian is now in the process of trying to sell Heald College, which would allow Heald to remain open and its students to continue their education and save more than 1,000 jobs. Several highly qualified buyers – including non-profits – have expressed serious interest, but some already have been discouraged by your staff lawyers’ insistence that they agree to overly burdensome oversight and onerous financial conditions, or be threatened with liability for the alleged past practices of Corinthian Colleges. That effectively blocks any chance to sell Heald College and will force its closure and liquidation. Interested buyers remain, but it is imperative to a sale that they not be scared off by unreasonable demands or threats from your office.

The Attorney General’s office has been a driving force in putting Corinthian Colleges out of business. Corinthian won’t be operating any schools. The sale of Heald College will ensure that students can continue their education under new ownership. If Heald College is forced to close its doors, its students will be forced to discontinue their studies. Closure of the college will have a devastating impact on the students’ lives and aspirations. Their Pell Grants and Cal Grants will not reset, and, if they apply for a Federal loan discharge, they will also lose their academic credits.

Heald College has already addressed the concerns specific to Heald College that have been identified by attorneys in your office. Beyond those changes to Heald practices, what your staff lawyers want from prospective buyers and our parent organization may simply be unacceptable to those parties. Blocking the sale by imposing unreasonable demands only serves to punish our students and employees. All we ask is that potential buyers not be threatened with devastating lawsuits for alleged conduct of prior ownership so that Heald College can survive under new ownership and continue to serve its students.

Time is running out to arrange a sale. Our parent organization only has until mid-April to reach an agreement with a buyer or Heald College will have to close its doors. So, again, on behalf of our students, staff and faculty, I am calling on you to help save Heald College.

Sincerely, Eeva K Deshon

President & CEO
Heald College

Honolulu Campus Announces New President

Michael C. Van Lear has been named president of Heald College's Honolulu campus. Mr. Van Lear is a long-time member of the Heald family. He began his career in 2000 as an associate dean, served as evening dean, and in 2004 was named director of Career Services. He received the Heald College Career Services Team of the Year Award for 2006. He became campus vice president in 2007 and remained in that position until his appointment to campus president.

Mr. Van Lear received his Bachelor of Arts degree in History from the University of Hawaii in 1990, and his Master of Education in Curriculum and Instruction from the University of Phoenix in 2004.

San Jose Campus Holds Immigration Symposium

In February, Heald's San Jose campus held its first Immigration Symposium. Titled "Understanding Today's Immigration Debate and Why It Matters," the event drew civic leaders from throughout Santa Clara County. They discussed the complexities of today's immigration challenges, outlined potential solutions, and discussed the impact those solutions could have on international relations.

Experts attending the symposium included the Honorable Judge Carol King; Carlos Ponce, Consular General of Mexico in San Jose; Mayor Juan Esteves of Milpitas; immigration expert professor Lynette Parker of Santa Clara University; and several attorneys who specialize in immigration.

Salinas Campus Hosts Recruitment Fair

Also in February, the California Department of Corrections, the Monterey and Santa Clara County sheriffs' departments, and BI Incorporated attended a recruitment fair hosted by Heald College in Salinas. Heald organized the event to help some of the roughly 23,900 unemployed Monterey County residents find work as peace officers. Over the next three years, the California prisons will need to recruit approximately 7,000 new officers, according to the California Department of Corrections.

The attendees learned about potential employment, salaries, benefits and training requirements for correctional officers, peace officers, pharmacy techs, medical assistants and more. Heald College had financial aid* and admission representatives on hand to provide additional information.

"We are extremely excited to have the opportunity to bring these public and private employers and members of the community together for a common cause," said Richard Cox, president of Heald College in Salinas.

*Financial aid available for those who qualify.

Heald Receives Recognition from City of San Jose

San Jose Mayor Chuck Reed and City Councilman Kansen Chu presented a commendation plaque to Heald College's San Jose President Elmo Frazer and his management team in recognition of their service to higher education and support for the San Jose library system.

According to Campus President Elmo Frazer, "Heald was chosen because of its tireless work in educating students in the San Jose area for over 107 years, and for graduating more than 2,000 students in the last three and a half years."

Heald was also recognized because of its work with San Jose-based nonprofit organizations, including the Second Harvest Food Bank, and for hosting symposiums on women in law enforcement, domestic violence and immigration. Heald College has worked closely with the Silicon Valley Leadership Group in its "Thousand Hearts for a Thousand Minds" tutoring program.

Heald College to Host Hayward Chamber Event

The Hayward Campus hosted a mixer to honor the Chamber of Commerce's Business Person of the Year. This is the highest award the Chamber bestows on an individual for their innovation, imagination, creativity, resourcefulness, and dealing with challenges and service to the community. The Chamber also announced the Police Officer, Firefighter, and Educator of the Year.

Heald College President Douglas Den Hartog and his team offered tours of the campus during the event.

"We were so honored to be able to hold this event at our campus. We have been a member of the Hayward Chamber of Commerce for over 46 years and enjoy a special, professional relationship with them," said Douglas.

Campuses Celebrate Heald's 150 Years

Both the Fresno and Modesto campuses held celebrations to acknowledge Heald College's 150 years serving the educational needs of the community, and unveiled the timeline wall that traces the highlights and milestones of the college's history. Both campuses also showed a video called "150 Years of Student Success."

A lunch reception was held at the Fresno Campus where three outstanding graduates were honored for their success and support of Heald College. Three local employers were also honored for their used of externs, their participation in job fairs, and their work with Heald College over the years.

The Modesto campus held a similar event and also honored three outstanding graduates who utilized the Career Services department's guidance to hone their interview skills and land their dream jobs. They also awarded an employer who has hired over 20 students to be interns.

Symposium Addresses Domestic Violence

The Milpitas campus hosted a symposium of regional leaders throughout Santa Clara County entitled "You Are Not Alone." The event, held in conjunction with Domestic Violence Awareness Month, featured Santa Clara County Superior court Judge Sharon Chatman as the keynote speaker.

Approximately 70 people attended the symposium which addressed all forms of domestic abuse, including verbal, physical, financial, and personal dominance, which affect every social, economic, and ethnic class in America. The outstanding message was that these victims are not alone and that there are resources available to help them.

Azar Khoshkbariie, Director of Legal Programs at Heald, said "Domestic violence touches the lives of so many, yet too many people who experience violence suffer in silence because they feel so alone and don?t know where to turn." She said that better education about the social and economic ramifications of abuse, and the ability to listen to the victim without judgment, are the best ways of handling the problem.

The symposium was a great success and is confirmed for next year as well.

Dental Assisting Students Help Make a Difference

Students and faculty from the Heald's Dental Assisting program at the Hayward campus participated in the California Dental Association's recent CDA Cares event. The 13 representatives from the Hayward campus joined forces with more than 1,500 other volunteers to offer free dental services to those in need.

More than 2,000 patients received more than 11,000 procedures, including fillings, x-rays and extractions, during the two-day event. The cost of these procedures would have totaled an estimated $1.5 million, but thanks to the generous volunteers, they were done for free.

"This event is a great opportunity for our students to put their skills to work for a great cause," commented Hayward Campus President Douglas Den Hartog. "Not only are the students getting real-world experience, but they are also able to give back to the community and make a real difference."

View Older News Items