Daytona WyoTech School for Sale

June 20, 2012 | The Daytona Beach News Journal |  Link to article

WyoTech technical school, which teaches hundreds of local residents auto and boat repair, could be sold by its parent company within the next 12 months but is expected to remain open, a spokesman said.

Kent Jenkins Jr., spokesman for California-based Corinthian Colleges Inc., said Tuesday the company plans to sell its Wyotech campuses in the Daytona Beach area and Sacramento, Calif. Its four other WyoTech campuses will not be affected, Jenkins said.

"This is strictly a business decision," he said.

Jenkins said Corinthian Colleges has about 100 schools nationwide and is doing an overall review of operations. He said both WyoTech schools being put up for sale are in "excellent standing academically."

"We do not plan for any of these changes to affect anyone's job or students' education," Jenkins said. The local campus employs about 100 workers and in the fall of 2010 had 900 students enrolled, according to the latest figures released by the school.

"We believe that the campuses will be an attraction for other educational organizations."

Jenkins said if the schools failed to attract a buyer, officials would consider other options, though he said closure is not on the table at this time.

"Our plan is to sell the schools and we're not going beyond that right now," he said.

The former American Motorcycle Institute first established its Daytona campus in 1972 and quickly outgrew its old location on West International Speedway Boulevard. Corinthians Colleges, one of the largest for-profit post-secondary education companies in North America, bought the technical school in 2004 and a year later relocated it to a 27.5-acre lot at Destination Daytona, just off U.S. 1 and Interstate 95 north of Ormond Beach.

The company sold the developed site as part of a lease-back agreement in December 2005 to CC Daytona LLC, which then sold the property to MSKW Garland Investments LLC for $24.16 million in 2010.

Corinthians Colleges and other institutions across the country offering vocational courses are facing tougher regulations and a dwindling student base.

Corinthian Colleges reported to the Securities and Exchange Commission in May its total student population was down by more than 4 percent during this year's third quarter compared to last year. Net revenues had decreased by nearly 7 percent compared to the same time last year.

Vickie Choitz, senior policy analyst for Washington, D.C.-based Center for Law and Social Policy, said a law passed in December will cut off federal funding --Pell grants and loans -- to new students who do not have a high school diploma or GED. Those already enrolled will be grandfathered in, she said.

Choitz added many for-profit technical programs are facing more scrutiny after President Barack Obama helped pass "gainful employment" regulations, which are designed to protect students from incurring insurmountable debt. High student debt can also increase the risk of an institution missing out on federal funding, Choitz said.

Kerry Symolon, interim director for Team Volusia Economic Development Corporation, said she was unaware of WyoTech being put up for sale, but that many for-profit companies have had trouble in light of the recent economy.

"These for-profit vocational schools are driven like retail and consumer spending is down," she said. "I would say it's something of a trend."

Mary Bruno, associate vice president for workforce and continuing education for Daytona State College, said if any students were to be displaced, DSC would welcome them with open arms.

"It's just a hop, skip and a jump away," from the college's advanced technology center on Williamson Boulevard, Bruno said.

WyoTech wouldn't be the first campus to be sold by Corinthian Colleges. In February, the company participated in a sale-leaseback of five of its Heald College facilities for $39.9 million. It also is in the process of selling four Everest campuses in California and is closing three others, including a Fort Lauderdale campus.

Symolon said even if the WyoTech Daytona campus were to close, businesses would be able to take advantage of courses offered at Daytona State College to train their employees.

"WyoTech is specialized, but Volusia County is fortunate to have a strong educational network."

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