Sask shuts down private college

Academy of Learning branch closed after investigation into ’financial difficulties’

A private college in Saskatchewan has been shut down. The Academy of Learning (AOL) Estevan was denied license renewal after a hearing, held last week, concluded the college was in violation of legislation regulating private vocational schools. Eighteen students will be affected by the closure, but the Ministry of Advanced Education, Employment and Immigration hopes to have them back in the classroom by the end of this week.

AOL offers career training in programs such as accounting, hospitality and information technology.

As part of a routine annual review, it was discovered that the operator of the Estevan college was “experiencing financial difficulties,” said Ann Lorenzen, executive director quality assurance for the education department. Lorenzen was unable to offer specifics but said that private colleges are subject to “legislative requirements regarding the filing of financial information.”

The ministry had been working with  AOL Estevan since May in an effort to bring the school into regulatory compliance, and when that did not happen the school was shut down. “In this case when we did our review, we discovered there were financial issues and we worked with the operator, and she was not able to bring herself into compliance with the legislation,” Lorenzen said.

AOL franchises are independently operated, so the decision to remove the Estevan branch’s license will not have an impact on other AOL schools in Saskatchewan. The province is working with the AOL head office so that students can resume their studies as early as Thursday or Friday. Although private schools do not receive any public funding, they are regulated in Saskatchewan under the The Private Vocational Schools Regulation Act.

Messages left with the AOL Estevan office, and the AOL franchising office were not immediately returned.