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06 January 2019, 04:09 | Austin Hogan
For-profit college owner agrees to end $500M in student debt
Under the agreement, CEC agreed to forgo all efforts to collect amounts owed by former students living in CT and other participating states.
A five-year investigation of the Illinois-based, for-profit Career Education Corp. 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 states alleged, he said, that CEC misled students about the transferability of credits and misrepresented the potential for students to obtain employment by failing to disclose that certain programs lacked necessary accreditation and by distorting graduation and job placement rates.
The agreement with attorneys general in 48 states plus the District of Columbia mandates added disclosures to students, including a new interactive online financial disclosure tool; bars misrepresentations to prospective students; prohibits enrollment in unaccredited programs; and institutes an extended period when new students can withdraw with no financial obligation.
CEC agrees to forgo any and all efforts to collect amounts owed by former students living in the states participating in the agreement. Nationally, the average individual debt relief will be about $2,750, according to the news release from Idaho Attorney General's office. Several students filed consumer complaints with the Washington State Attorney General's Office stating that the school told them credits would easily transfer to other schools - but the office found that was not the case.
Career Education Corporation (CEC), headquartered in IL, has owned several for-profit schools, including Le Cordon Bleu, Briarcliffe College, Brooks Institute, Brown College, Harrington College of Design and International Academy of Design & Technology (later known as Sanford-Brown).
Schmidt alleges the company engaged in unfair and deceptive practices. The debt stems from institutional loans the company issued to students.
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Under the terms of the settlement, CEC will forgive $493.7 million in debt for almost 180,000 former students. Both were in Tukwila.
CEC agrees to forgo all efforts to collect amounts owed by former students living in the states participating in the agreement that either attended a CEC institution that closed before January 1, or whose final day of attendance at American InterContinental University or Colorado Technical University occurred on or before December 31, 2013. The company counted graduates who worked temporarily or in a field unrelated to their studies as graduates successfully placed in jobs.
Provide a single-page disclosure to each student that includes anticipated total direct cost to the student, the program completion rate, median earnings for completers and the job placement rate, amongst other information.
The company denies allegations of wrongdoing and says it will work "to demonstrate the quality of our institutions and our commitment to students".
The company has not yet finalized agreements with the attorneys general of California or NY.
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