Bryan Cohen Jan. 11, 2013, 7:17pm

BOSTON (Legal Newsline) - Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley announced Thursday her office would offer assistance to students affected by the recent closure of American Career Institute facilities in the state.

On Wednesday, ACI, a for-profit school with five job-training campuses in Massachusetts, abruptly closed. Coakley urged students to take appropriate steps to protect their assets and ongoing education, such as canceling any automatic payments to the school and saving all related paperwork and documents.

"Our office is working to protect students who find themselves in this circumstance with seemingly no advance warning," Coakley said. "We urge students to contact our office if they were harmed by this closure."

ACI students may contact Coakley's Public Inquiry and Assistance Center Consumer Hotline to obtain further assistance. ACI employees who think their rights were violated by the closure may call Coakley's Fair Labor Hotline or file a wage complaint.

Coakley suggested that students be wary of educational options where the recruiter uses high-pressure sales tactics, guarantees a job or quotes high future income, claims a very high placement rate, describes a degree or certificate that seems too easy to obtain, says the program won't cost students anything, encourages lies on financial aid forms, reassures students that it is easy to walk away from student loans and represents a school that does not disclose information as required.

For-profit schools rely on federal financial aid programs for close to 90 percent of their revenue. Data shows that students at for-profit schools take on significantly more debt than those at non-profit and public schools.

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