Le Cordon Bleu culinary schools to close across the country

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The for-profit operator of the Le Cordon Bleu culinary schools is set to close all 16 of its campuses across the country, including the metro Atlanta location in Tucker.

Career Education Corporation announced Wednesday it will no longer enroll new students after Jan. 4, 2016, and will begin discontinuing operations. Last year the company announced it was looking to sell off its U.S. campuses, but was unable to reach an agreement with a potential buyer. At that time, about 1,000 students were enrolled at the Tucker location.

Existing students making reasonable academic progress will be able to finish their programs, said a release from the company. All campuses are expected to remain open until September 2017.

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“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,” said Todd Nelson, president and CEO of Career Education. “Despite our best efforts to find a new caretaker for these well-renowned culinary colleges, we could not reach an agreement that we believe was in the best interests of both our students and our stockholders.”

The company plans to refocus its resources on its online university. Career Education Corporation also operates American InterContinental University and Colorado Technical University. More than 90 percent of those students attend school online.

The Le Cordon Bleu announcement follows news earlier this month that Westwood College, owned by Alta Colleges, had frozen enrollment at all of its 14 campuses in California, Colorado, Georgia, Illinois and Virginia. A Westwood spokesman said no decision had been made on a date for closing the schools.

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