Students Stranded When Florida Flight School Closes

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Students at Jet University, a flight school at Fort Lauderdale Executive Airport, showed up on Friday to find the place closed, according to local news reports. Many of the students had signed up for ab initio programs that they hoped would take them through all the ratings to qualify for the right seat in a regional jet, at costs of up to $70,000. Some students from the school started a Web site several months ago, where they posted complaints that airline jobs were not materializing, and aired their suspicions that the school was suffering from financial problems. The school was founded in 2006, and as recently as last month was still recruiting students, with a two-day open house at the school. The local CBS4 reporter said the business owner, Heath Cohen, said his business partner decided to shut the program down, but the partner denied that and said he wants a full investigation.

The school's Web site has been taken down, with only a notice that news will be announced soon. An archival copy of the Web site promotes an "exclusive Fast Track CRJ Training Program ... your fastest route to a guaranteed Part-121 CRJ first officer interview and permanent employment as a regional jet first officer." The program takes just three months and can be entirely financed through "exclusive education loans," according to the Web site.