For profit universities have been a target of state and federal investigations for years. I have written about this topic since 2012. It should be noted that not all for profit colleges are scams, but there are a large number of for profit colleges, sometimes referred to as “diploma mills” that at times offer credit for your “life experience” and lure students in with promises of a helpful degree, but the students end up with a worthless degree and an empty wallet. Sometimes the names of these scamming colleges and universities are confusingly similar to legitimate colleges. For instance, Columbia State University is a diploma mill while Columbia University is an eminent Ivy League school.
In February of 2016 I told you about the Federal Trade Commission’s lawsuit against DeVry University alleging that the university’s advertising, particularly as it related to their graduates’ opportunities for getting a job after graduation were false and deceptive. Specifically, DeVry made the false claims that 90% of its graduates got jobs within six months of graduation and that its graduates had 15% higher incomes a year after graduation than the graduates of other colleges. Now that lawsuit has been settled.
As a part of its 100 million dollar settlement with the FTC, DeVry has agreed to pay 49.4 million dollars for partial refunds to some students and 50.6 million dollars of debt forgiveness for loans made to students by DeVry.
If you attended DeVry University and want to find out if you qualify for the refunds, check out the “FTC Scam Refunds” tab at the top of this page. You also can find there information about the mailing of the refund checks.
If you are considering attending a for profit school, first check it out with the United States Department of Education’s website at www.ope.ed.gov/accreditation to make sure it is an accredited institution.
You also should investigate whether a local college, university or community college would be more cost effective for you. For profit colleges and universities are often more expensive than these other alternatives without offering any distinct advantages. Also, check out the graduation rates of any for profit college you are considering and finally, investigate the job prospects in your field of study. Don’t just take the word of the college.