Career Colleges Face Test From State, Federal Officials
Career College Central summary:
Federal and state officials are conducting probes into career colleges over concerns that schools are marketing career-training programs that lack proper accreditation for students in certain fields, according to government agencies and regulatory filings. The investigations, being conducted by the Federal Trade Commission and some state attorneys general, focus on whether students are being deceived by for-profit colleges offering programs in career paths such as nursing, education, psychology and law enforcement. States are forcing for-profit colleges to refund money to students who say they were misled.
Representatives of for-profit colleges defend their track records in training students and say they disclose that there are no guarantees that students will be able to find jobs in their chosen fields. Noah Black, a spokesman for the Association of Private Sector Colleges and Universities industry group, said the probes stem from "activist attorneys general partnering with individuals that are ideologically opposed to our institutions."
Officials say students often take on tens of thousands of dollars in debt to get an accredited degree but can graduate from a program with an accreditation that isn't widely accepted by employers. Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller this month reached a $7.25 million settlement with Ashford University and parent company, Bridgepoint Education Inc., BPI -2.35% a publicly traded company based in San Diego. The state accused the school of leading students to believe that an online degree would allow them to become classroom teachers, without disclosing that additional coursework would be necessary.
The school denied the allegations. The university "is proud of its high quality, affordable education and will continue to remain dedicated to long-term student outcomes," Ashford President Richard Pattenaude said in a prepared statement.
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THE WALL STREET JOURNAL