Future for Geos students at closing schools uncertain, no tuition refunds

Students of bankrupt English-conversation school operator Geos Corp. are frustrated with 99 out of 329 schools nationwide closing and no refunds for those who have already paid this year’s tuition.

Some 230 Geos schools will continue operation under the management of G.Communication, while the other 99 will be closed. Geos and G.Communication made a joint statement on Wednesday that they would “work for the best interests of the students,” but students who won’t be able to continue classes at their schools are concerned.

A 22-year-old female student at a closing Geos school in Sangenjaya in Setagaya Ward, Tokyo, says she just paid her entire yearly tuition last month. She had previously paid her tuition on a monthly basis. However, around autumn of last year, the school started repeatedly recommending she pay her yearly tuition in a lump sum.

The student’s mother is a former student at English conversation school chain NOVA, which also went bankrupt. She warned her daughter that it was suspicious that the school was trying to get her to pay so much money up front. The student says she hesitated to pay until the last minute.

“If they recommended the lump payment while knowing they would be going bankrupt, it’s depressing,” she said sadly.

Since no refunds will be offered, the student is considering continuing at the nearest school that G.Communication will take over, but said, “It’s far from my home, and I’m worried that a new teacher wouldn’t teach in the same way as the old one.”

Elsewhere, at a school in Nara that is scheduled to close, a 23-year-old American teacher who had come to find out the latest news complained angrily, “At yesterday’s meeting, the school manager told us that Geos’s financial condition was fine, but this morning we got an e-mail about the bankruptcy. We were lied to. If I don’t get paid, I can’t afford a flight back home.”

Geos and G.Communication have set up a toll-free line to address students’ concerns at 0120-1344-46. The line is open from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.