Hundreds of supporters of Heald College held signs and chanted loudly outside the offices of State Attorney General Kamala Harris today, asking that she not hinder a sale of the school.
Heald's parent company, Corinthian College, is being sued by several states and federal regulators for fraud. It and Heald is accused of making false promises to students of helping them find internships and jobs that don't exist.
Critics also say high tuitions required student loans, which they provided at exorbitant rates. Classes, they say, marketed toward veterans and the poor.
Corinthian is in the midst of selling off it's colleges nationwide, but Heald supporters say the Attorney General is blocking a sale by insisting the new buyers might be liable for reimbursing past students.
"Some of them are getting scared and moving away from the purchase table after they had conversations with the Attorney General," said Heald President and CEO Eeva Deschon to demonstrators.
Supporters say Heald was a non-profit for most of its 153 years in operation and was purchased by Corinthian in 2009. They say that Heald should allow a new buyer to operate the school.
"Please don't punish Heald College because of our past ownership," said Deschon.
But critics say many past students have come forward complaining that they are tens of thousands of dollars in debt after getting useless degrees from Heald.
The Attorney General's office says those students shouldn't be ignored.
"We will continue to act aggressively to pursue relief and restitution for students at Heald and and other Corinthian Colleges,"said spokesperson Kristen Ford.
Deschon says a buyer will have to found by mid-April or Heald will have to close. Its 12 Northern California campuses employ 2,000 people and have 8,000 students enrolled.