Le Cordon Bleu culinary colleges for sale

The owner of the Le Cordon Bleu culinary colleges plans to sell its 16 campuses across the country including the metro Atlanta location in Tucker.

Le Cordon Bleu’s parent company, Career Education Corporation, announced plans to sell the institutions this week.

The sale should have little to no impact on students, said company spokesman Mark Spencer. Le Cordon Bleu will continue to operate and enroll students while CEC seeks a buyer.

“We anticipate that a new owner would be interested in continuing to operate the campuses,” Spencer said. “This is not an announcement that campuses will be closing.”

Students, including the 1,000 enrolled in Tucker, were officially notified of the sale today.

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A company statement said the sale will allow CEC to reallocate funds across its portfolio. “We think Le Cordon Bleu has an important future that is deserving of greater investment than we can currently make,” Spencer said.

Federal gainful-employment regulations released last month by the U.S. Department of Education played a role in the decision, he said. Those rules, aimed at vocational programs at for-profit, community colleges and other institutions, are intended to ensure the schools adequately prepare students for graduation and employment without creating high amounts of student debt. Poor performing institutions could lose federal student aid grants and loans.

The for-profit industry has filed a lawsuit to block the regulations. The federal education department unfairly targets this industry, Spencer said, without taking into account the cost of providing the type of high-quality culinary education done by Le Cordon Bleu.

Career Education Corporation also operates other well-known for-profit brands including American InterContinental University and Sanford-Brown Colleges. The sale announcement does not include those brands.

Last month, Corinthian Colleges, another large national for-profit education provider, announced the sale of most of its campuses, including its four Everest College locations in metro Atlanta. Corinthian had been dogged by several state and federal investigations into whether the company lied about its educational programs, job-placement rates and finances.

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