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Le Cordon Bleu Closing: Julia Child's Alma Mater Shuttering US Campuses

Image: Le Cordon Bleu Closing: Julia Child's Alma Mater Shuttering US Campuses
Chef Paulette Tejada from the Le Cordon Bleu College in Miami holds her tapa as she won the Cinco Jotas International Tapa Award on March 19, 2014 in Madrid, Spain. (Pablo Blazquez Dominguez/Getty Images)

By    |   Friday, 18 Dec 2015 10:47 AM

The prestigious Le Cordon Bleu cooking school is closing all 16 of its U.S. campuses in September 2017, owner Career Education Corp. announced this week, citing regulations that make it challenging for career schools to be profitable.

"New federal regulations make it difficult to project the future for career schools that have higher operating costs, such as culinary schools that require expensive commercial kitchens and ongoing food costs," President and Chief Executive Todd Nelson said in a statement quoted by the Los Angeles Times.

One of the new rules reportedly limits student loans to 20 percent of a graduate's after-tax wages, according to The Oregonian.

Students who are currently enrolled will be able to finish out their programs, but no new students will be accepted after the January classes begin, the Times noted. The Pasadena location has about 1,200 students and a 91-percent placement rate, Lachlan Sands, Pasadena president, told the newspaper.

"We're not closing for 21 months," he said. "My job is to look after the people we have."

A CEC spokesperson told the Times that the business is looking for interested buyers for the school's campuses, which are spread across the country. Schools overseas will not be affected.

The Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts schools, which instructed the famous Julia Child, have been criticized for high tuition rates and students have alleged in the past that placement rates are exaggerated, The Oregonian said. In a 2008 class-action lawsuit, one student claimed that a majority of the school's graduates make less than $22,500 a year, which makes it challenging to meet student loan obligations.

Le Cordon Bleu chef Doug Adams, who competed on "Top Chef" this year, told the newspaper that he attended the school for just a few months before leaving over concerns about student debt. He instead got experience working at various restaurants.

"I know culinary school is really helpful for a lot of people," Adams said. "It's super tough to get into debt to get into an industry where you're going to be making minimum wage or a little higher. It's a rough spot to be in especially when you're being told it's going to be different."

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The prestigious Le Cordon Bleu cooking school is closing all 16 of its U.S. campuses in September 2017, owner Career Education Corp. announced this week, citing regulations that make it challenging for career schools to be profitable.
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Friday, 18 Dec 2015 10:47 AM
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