California Coding Camps May Be Shut Down

California coding camps are in hot water after consumer protection officials are threatening numerous camps to obey the law or may be forced to shut down. Shereef Bishay, co-founder of Dev Bootcamp, said that some camps in the San Francisco Bay area were sent citation letters by the Bureau for Private Secondary Education. The letters told schools that they had to immediately stop enrolling students and give past students refunds until they are approved to operate. The online news source, Venture Beat, reported that the schools could be fined up to $50,000 if they do not comply. The camps have two weeks to begin complying.

In the middle of Jan. the Bureau for Private Post Secondary Education or BPPE sent out citation  letters to certain groups. General Assembly, a coding boot camp, said that they began working on this problem a couple of months ago so they are able to get compliance with Private Post Secondary Education. The learn-to-camp classes and schools teach people various skills such as software development, data science and user experience design.

The Bureau for Private Post Secondary Education is saying that these camps are under its control and need to be regulated. The education group regulates and licenses post secondary education in California, which includes both academic and career training programs. Russ Heimerich, a spokesperson for the Bureau for Private Post Secondary Education, says that their goal is not to give them a fine but to use the fine to get them to agree with the state’s law.

He also explained that if the boot camps show they are trying to adhere to the law, then their case is not as pressing. The Bureau for Private Post Secondary Education will help these companies get the licensing they need so the bureau can focus on more important matters. The boot camps themselves are worried that they may go bankrupt while they wait for the process to be complete; it may take up to a year and a half for the camps to finish the process.

Other companies may feel that stopping their program hurts future applications. Bishay said that his company wants to agree with the state and already sent in a long application that showed the $12,000 a session curriculum, how they test, how many people complete the program as well as other details. However, he explains that because 60 people are currently taking classes and that hundreds more are signed up through the middle of summer it will be difficult to stop the program while he waits to get the certification.

Five California coding boot camps  released a statement in terms of the potential shutdown if they are not able to obey the law; they said they welcome the mistake that was made in their industry and are speaking closely with the Bureau for Private Post Secondary Education to properly define what their programs can be classified under and are taking the next step in the process.

Coding camps in California are facing the Bureau for Private Post Secondary Education after not licensing their programs. Law requires this compliance and these companies may be given a hefty fine and face a potential shutdown if they do not obey the law. The groups were given citation letters that outlined the fine and stated they were given 14 days to get compliance. Heimerich explained that the bureau creates a fund that pays back students who paid to attend the schools who shut down or stop their programs; the money from this fund comes from a fee of $1 per student that the camps pay. If the camps have their operating applications approved, then they do not have to pay the fees for the fund immediately because the fund had a $2.5 million balance that is authorized by California law.

By Jordan Bonte

Venture Beat
Silicon Valley Business Jounal
ABC News

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