TCAT Memphis & Southwest reach out to displaced Vatterott & L'Ecole Culinaire students

HVAC students

The Tennessee College of Applied Technology at Memphis, Southwest Tennessee Community College, and the Tennessee Higher Education Commission are reaching out to students of Vatterott Career College and L’Ecole Culinaire campuses in Memphis that closed on Monday.

Vatterott Educational Centers Inc. announced Monday that it is closing all of its institutions in several states, effective immediately. It operated three campuses in Memphis: Vatterott Career College’s locations on Appling Farms Parkway and Dividend Drive and L’Ecole Culinaire in Cordova.

TCAT Memphis and Southwest are public community and technical colleges governed by the Tennessee Board of Regents, and offer several programs similar to those provided by Vatterott and L’Ecole Culinaire.

TCAT Memphis will hold an information session for the displaced students at 2 p.m. Friday, Dec. 21, at TCAT Memphis’ main campus downtown at 550 Alabama Avenue.  The session will be held in the Multi-Purpose Room in the building at the intersection of Alabama and Mosby avenues. College faculty and staff will be on hand to discuss options with students.

TCAT Memphis President Roland Rayner said his college’s programs that are similar to what Vatterott offered include automotive technology, diesel mechanics, collision repair technology, pharmacy technician, dental assisting, and heating/ventilation and air conditioning. A complete list of programs and other information, including financial aid, are available on the college’s website at

In addition, Rayner said he is reaching out to Vatterott employees who may be interested in vacant positions at TCAT Memphis. “We are looking at the opportunity to do some additional programs at night to expand our capacity to serve additional students,” he said.

Adults who have not already earned a college degree or certificate may be eligible to attend either of the public colleges tuition-free through the new Tennessee Reconnect program. More information is available at

Southwest Tennessee Community College announced earlier today that it will host an information session for the displaced students Thursday, Dec. 20, at 4:30 p.m. in the Bornblum Library Auditorium on the Macon Cove Campus.

Southwest offers business programs, as well as a culinary arts program, and is opening its doors to the Vatterott and L’ECole Culinaire students so they may continue their studies. “We are here to let the students know that all is not lost and that Southwest is committed to doing all we can to help them fulfill their academic goals,” Southwest President Dr. Tracy D. Hall said.

“We have outstanding programs, including our culinary program that features one of Memphis’ highest regarded chefs and catering professionals at the helm, Chef Steven Leake,” Hall added. “Southwest is an outstanding choice for them, especially with our Tennessee Reconnect Program that will allow them to attend tuition-free, if they qualify.”

Southwest also offers programs in automotive technology, criminal justice, paralegal, computer technology and network technology. “We are committed to doing all we can to help the students seamlessly transition to Southwest and continue their studies without interruption,” Southwest Dean of Business and Technology Robin Cole said.

Southwest enrollment and financial aid specialists, along with academic advisors and representatives from the academic programs, will be on hand to counsel students on their transition. 

Vatterott and L’ECole Culinaire students are encouraged to take the following steps to jumpstart the transfer process to Southwest:

The Tennessee Higher Education Commission (THEC) has posted information for students on its website, at Students of the affected colleges may sign up for email to keep up to date with information on that site. THEC is a state agency coordinating higher education in Tennessee.

The College System of Tennessee is the state’s largest public higher education system, with 13 community colleges, 27 colleges of applied technology and the online TN eCampus serving approximately 140,000 students. The system is governed by the Tennessee Board of Regents.