Thursday, 27 June, 2019

Loan company paying back millions to Kansas students

A sample disclosure sheet from a settlement with the Career Education Corp. The company is now required to provide a similar document to prospective students For-profit college owner agrees to end $500M in student debt
Russell Knight | 06 January, 2019, 16:10

More than 6,000 Arizonans who attended certain for-profit schools and were deceived about the cost of their education are now eligible for $22 million in debt relief.

In settling the lawsuit, Career Education Corporation agreed to forgive more than $490 million in debt owed by approximately 180,000 students in 47 states and the District of Columbia. The for-profit education company based out of IL offers mostly online courses through InterContinental University and Colorado Technical University.

In several consumer complaints to the Attorney General's Office, former CEC students reported that the company did not disclose that their credits could only transfer to other CEC schools. The attorneys general alleged that CEC pressured its employees to enroll students and engaged in unfair and deceptive practices.

The settlements, announced Thursday, describe a pattern of deception that misled prospective students about the potential cost of enrolling in CEC's programs and their job prospects after graduation, among other issues.

An education company accused of misleading nearly 400 Idaho students has agreed to pay them an average of more than $2,000 apiece. CEC closed or phased out many of its schools over the past 10 years. Under Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, the Department of Education has rescinded rules aimed at forcing for-profit schools to be more transparent about students' career prospects. CEC denied the allegations of the attorneys general but agreed to resolve the claims through this multistate settlement.

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Ten active or defunct CEC colleges are involved, including three that used to have Arizona campuses: Sanford-Brown College, Le Cordon Bleu and Collins College. "It is my hope that this debt relief will help to ease the burden on students who were trying to better themselves, their careers and their livelihoods but were instead tricked into programs and degrees that were sometimes worthless". Admissions representatives were instructed to inform prospective students only about the cost per credit hour without disclosing the total number of required credit hours.

The Schaumburg, Ill. -based company also has agreed to pay $5 million to the states.

"Today's settlement ensures the company treats students the way they should have been all along - with honesty and respect for their futures", Madigan said.

As a result, some students could not obtain professional licenses and incurred debts that they could not repay nor discharge. And in October 2017, AG Healey sued to protect the Gainful Employment Rule, a federal regulation created to protect students and taxpayers from predatory for-profit schools.

"This agreement not only provides relief to former students, but also protects future students and advances our efforts to clean up the for-profit education industry", said Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller in his own statement.

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