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Students left in the dark after McKay Career Training suddenly shuts doors

Click to play video: 'Students left in the dark after McKay Career Training shuts doors'
Students left in the dark after McKay Career Training shuts doors
Taylor Blight was a first-year student at McKay Career Training in Saskatoon but in April, the school closed its doors due to bankruptcy, leaving 30 students in the dark about the future of their education. Kabi Moulitharan has the story. – Jun 16, 2023

Taylor Blight was a first-year student at McKay Career Training in Saskatoon in the Mental Health and Addictions First Responder Program.

But on April 28, the school closed its doors due to bankruptcy, leaving 30 students in the dark about the future of their education.

Students were filed into a room and sat around a table as the owner of the school told them, on a call set on speaker phone, that they all had to leave.

“They put a phone in the middle of the room and on speaker, the owner of the school told us they went bankrupt and there was going to be a closure and we all had to leave,” Blight said.

“There were a lot of different emotions. A lot of people were upset, confused, and honestly they didn’t have answers at the time for what we were asking.”

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Blight said the closure came as a shock to the students but she had noticed teachers starting to leave months before the news.

“The way they did it, to tell us, it was unprofessional,” Blight said. “Just to send us all on our way, sign a paper and keep us waiting.”

A memo was later sent to students, stating the school had officially filed for bankruptcy and its Certificate of Registration had been cancelled.

“The Ministry of Advanced Education is committed to exploring options available to compensate and/or finish the training of all those affected. Those operations will be discussed on a student-by-student basis,” the memo read.

Blight said the ministry cancelled a meeting it was supposed to have with students on May 29 because there were no updates to share.

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The memo added students who were scheduled for disbursement loans would still receive their funding and overpayments would be adjusted by the ministry.

“They are only willing to pay back unearned tuition, which in their eyes, is the last half of the year we had left,” Blight said.

“If we aren’t getting a diploma, I don’t get why I am paying for a student loan. It’s a lot of debt I took out to get into this work field that I had a lot of passion for but being left in the dust like this has made me reconsider.”

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In an emailed statement to Global News, the ministry commented on the unfortunate situation.

“We understand that this situation has created difficulty for students, through no fault of their own. The ministry has been in contact with all students impacted by the school closure and is working diligently to find the best possible outcome for each student,” the statement read.

“This includes matching students with equivalent programs at other schools and institutions, as well as tuition refund options. The Ministry of Advanced Education’s top priority is making sure students receive high-quality education in Saskatchewan’s post-secondary institutions.”

In Blight’s case, the ministry is trying to transfer her from McKay’s mental health and first responder program to what they claim is a similar track at the Saskatchewan Indian Institute of Technology (SIIT).

“When I look at SIIT, it is not comparable to what we were learning (at McKay’s) and they are not willing to look into SaskPolytech or something else,” Blight said.

In order to transfer, the ministry requires her McKay transcripts and academic progress report — a task that is out of Blight’s hands.

“Instructors were asked to compile the records for current students and give them to us,” read an email exchange between the ministry and Blight. “Your instructor chose not to do that and so while we have been in contact with her several times to request it, she has yet to provide us with anything.”

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“They did take everything they had from the school but everything my teacher did have wouldn’t be relevant to them because our program had a big reconstruction from year one to two as we had new teachers come in and out so it wouldn’t have lined up with what the school applied for to send to the ministry,” Blight said.

Former McKay student Jocelyn Eden said the entire situation is making her reconsider her future.

“We’re sick of waiting around,” Eden said. “It’s been like almost two months. It leaves me kind of not wanting to go pursue my education because I’m worried about, well, my student loans, they’re not reimbursing us or anything like that.”

She was enrolled in the same two-year program as Blight and said SIIT might not be an option for her either.

“We’d have to restart the whole program since the curriculums are so different and many of us can’t take out another student loan since we have one with McKay that needs to be paid off first. As well as SIIT might already be filled up as it’s already June, almost July.”

Right now, Blight and Eden are both working full-time while they wait on the anticipated news of future of their education.

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