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Feeling the Heat, Le Cordon Bleu Is Closing Its U.S. Cooking Schools

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The American operator of the French schools is facing new governmental regulations.

Le Cordon Bleu

My, how the times are changing: Following a period of massive enrollment increases during the recession, for-profit operator Career Education Corporation announced Wednesday that it would close all 16 Le Cordon Bleu culinary schools in the U.S. The last day for enrollment is January 4, 2016, according to NBC Chicago; after that, all current students will be allowed to finish but no new ones will be accepted.

Le Cordon Bleu is "considered today the largest network of culinary and hospitality schools in the world," according to its website. In the 1950s, Julia Child attended the Paris school, which — it is important to note — is run separately from the U.S. affiliates along with the London campus and will not be shutting down operations.

Career Education Corporation had considered selling its cooking schools, but revealed that closing them would be "a quicker and ultimately cheaper option," BuzzFeed reports. The company cited "the impact of the federal government's new regulations on career colleges" for its decision, referring to "the Obama administration's gainful employment rule, which cuts off federal financial aid to schools where graduates borrow money at high rates to pay for school but earn little after graduation." When reached by phone for further information or comment, a representative for the school hung up.

Le Cordon Bleu and other culinary institutes in the U.S. have come under increasing scrutiny for their outrageous tuition costs, high drop-out rates, and dismal job prospects. Eater analyzed the data this summer and found overwhelming evidence that culinary school isn't worth it. These for-profit centers have even been sued for their deceptive recruiting tactics and falsified rates of post-school job placement. Career Education Corporation settled one class action lawsuit from former students to the tune of $40 million.


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