Kaitlynn Pletcher loves animals. That motivated her to study vet assisting at Mid East Career Center in Zanesville instead of traditional high school. One day during junior year, a rep from the Vet Tech Institute at Bradford School in Columbus spoke to her class. Impressed, she applied immediately and was accepted to Bradford last summer. School was starting July 2019 so she started packing right after graduation for the move west. Her mother, Stephanie, has everything for Katie’s new dorm room “including pods for the dishwasher. Her dorm room has a dishwasher.” When the orientation schedule arrived requesting her presence on campus this week, Katie’s dream of working in a veterinarian’s office began to feel very real.
But last Tuesday, all that changed.
A form letter was delivered via Fed Ex, from Bradford School president Dennis Bartels reading, “Dear Applicant: I regret to inform you that, due to declining enrollment, we have made the decision to no longer enroll any new students, effective immediately.” (The school does plan to remain open until April 2020 so all current students can complete their programs.) With the letter came a refund of fees that the Pletchers had paid in advance.
Members of the admission staff at Bradford got fired about the same time Katie’s Fed Ex arrived. But they were told a different story. According to Bradford ex-employees who were on a conference call with school officials Tuesday morning, enrollment wasn’t the issue—it was accreditation and problems with student loans.
BROUGHT TO YOU BY
As a “for-profit” college, Bradford is held to different standards on loan defaults and graduation rates than schools like Ohio State and Kent State. According to the Chronicle on Higher Education, over 1,000 for-profit campuses closed over the last five years. Another 270 have been under Federal monitoring this year. Bradford Schools, Inc. has already closed campuses in Pittsburgh and Fort Wayne over the past year
Now Katie needs a new plan.
“She was accepted (at Bradford) last August” her mom told me. “Her second choice was Kent State, but they needed an application back in March, so she doesn’t know what to do now.”
A quick online review found that both Columbus State and Kent State (at the Tuscarawas campus) have associate degree programs for future vet techs, with fall application windows still open.
And her mom’s supply of dishwasher pods will last a long time.