New RI law aimed at protecting students

A new state law requires private postsecondary schools to provide refunds, records transfers, and give students 30 days' notice in the event the school closes.

The legislation, which was signed by Gov. Lincoln Chafee on July 15, is in response to the abrupt closure of the Sawyer School in December which left hundreds of students stranded after they had paid tuition.

"Many, many students were left unguarded, if you will. Here, they get up expecting to go to school, they get there and it's closed. They don't know where their records are, they don't know where there money is. You make a big investment in education. It's important you know where your money is going," said state Sen. Elizabeth Crowley, who sponsored the legislation.

The Sawyer School had two locations in Pawtucket and Providence, both of which are now closed.

"(The law) would apply to Brown, Providence College and some of the other private institutions we have," said state Rep. Anastasia Williams.

A similar law exists in Connecticut where the Sawyer School also operated.