MYUSA: Unqualified instructors claim at S.A. campus results in $1.3M payout

Career College Central Summary:

  • One of the country’s largest for-profit education companies has agreed to pay the federal government $1.3 million to resolve a lawsuit originating from its San Antonio campuses that alleged it hired unqualified instructors.
  • The Justice Department’s settlement with Kaplan Education Services resolves a lawsuit filed in 2012 by whistleblower Leslie Coleman, acting U.S. Attorney Richard Durbin announced Monday.
  • Kaplan operates for-profit colleges on several campuses in Texas, including Kaplan College – San Antonio (San Pedro) and Kaplan College – San Antonio (Ingram).
  • The campuses offer a mix of degree and diploma programs, such as a medical assistant diploma program designed to train students for entry-level positions in the health care field. Many of Kaplan’s students receive financial assistance under federal programs that help eligible students obtain higher education.
  • The Justice Department began investigating Kaplan after Coleman filed a federal lawsuit under the False Claims Act that accused Kaplan of employing unqualified instructors to teach medical assistant courses at its San Antonio campuses. Such whistleblower lawsuits are filed under seal so the Justice Department can evaluate the claims and conduct an investigation. They are often made public only when they are settled, or after the Justice Department opts not to join the suits.
  • The San Antonio lawsuit alleged that Kaplan knowingly requested, received, and retained federal tuition funds for courses taught by individuals who did not meet the minimum requirements established by Texas law. Following the federal investigation, the parties negotiated a settlement. The majority — roughly $1.07 million – will be paid in the form of tuition refunds. The refunds will benefit 289 students, whose student loan debt will decrease as a result of the settlement, Durbin said. The whistleblower also will receive a portion for bringing the allegations to light.
  • Kaplan fully cooperated with the government’s investigation and negotiated the settlement in good faith, according to Durbin. The settlement is not an admission of liability by Kaplan or its affiliates, the news release said.

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