Final chapter in Everest College saga spells end to downtown Tacoma campus

A former for-profit college system is laying off the 45 employees at its downtown Tacoma office.

After scrutiny by several government agencies, Corinthian Colleges closed in 2015, transferring some of its campuses to a nonprofit called Zenith Education Group.

Now most of those campuses, including Tacoma’s Altierus Career College, are closing.

The branch, in the Horizon Pacific Center at 2106 Pacific Ave., was part of Corinthian Colleges Inc. under the Everest brand.

When Zenith took over, the chain shifted to a nonprofit model and reduced tuition for students by 20 percent, according to a news release from the company Wednesday.

It was unclear what will happen to students at the Tacoma campus. A phone message and email sent to the college system were not returned.

A news release from Zenith said students currently enrolled will be able to finish their studies, but new students will not be admitted. The 21 campuses slated for closure had 5,400 students.

Earlier this year, the Tacoma campus started a $500,000 upgrade of medical and dental lab equipment for its students, according to a news release from Altierus at the time.

The Corinthian system was sued by several state attorneys general, including Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson, saying its students were victims of fraud.

At the time students were told some could qualify for federal student loan forgiveness. However, more than 87,000 students who sought debt relief still are waiting on an answer from the U.S. Education Department, which has stalled on processing applications.

U.S. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos is considering only partly forgiving those federal loans, according to The Associated Press.

Kate Martin: 253-597-8542, @KateReports