The U.S. Department of Education will release $16 million in student financial aid funds to Santa Ana-based Corinthian Colleges Inc., providing cash flow that will keep the company operating for now.

The for-profit school operator said it might have to go out of business if it could not access financial aid funds due some of its 72,000 students at 107 campuses.

Corinthian will receive the money while pursuing the sale of some campuses or the phasing out of others under a tentative agreement announced this morning. Details of the agreement are expected to be available by July 1.

The education department will continue its investigation of Corinthian’s advertising and job-placement claims. It says it moved to delay Corinthian’s access to financial aid funds last week because the company had not cooperated with multiple requests over the last five months.

Corinthian contends it has cooperated on the investigation.