WALL STREET JOURNAL: Ashworth College Settles FTC Complaint Alleging it Misrepresented Information

Career College Central Summary:

  • Ashworth College agreed to settle federal allegations that the for-profit college misrepresented how well it prepares students for certain vocational licenses and whether students could transfer credits earned at the Norcross, Ga.,-based institution to other schools.
  • The Federal Trade Commission’s complaint and proposed settlement were filed in a U.S. District Court in Georgia Tuesday. Under the agreement, Ashworth denied any wrongdoing.
  • The FTC alleged that some degree and certificate programs offered by Ashworth failed to meet requirements set by state licensing boards for positions such as real-estate appraisers, home inspectors and massage practitioners. The FTC also alleged that Ashworth said its credits would transfer when it lacked evidence that other schools would accept them.
  • The settlement prohibits Ashworth, legally known as the Professional Career Development Institute LLC, from making unfounded claims about students’ ability to qualify for vocational licenses after completing its training programs, about whether course credits are generally accepted at other schools, and about graduates’ job prospects.
  • “When schools promise students they can transfer course credits or get a better job after completing their programs, they’d better be able to back up those claims,” said Jessica Rich, director of FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection. “Ashworth College didn’t tell the truth when it made those promises to prospective students.”
  • While Ashworth doesn’t participate in federal student loan programs for its degree or certification programs, it does accept military benefits.
  • The school has more than 35,000 students in its vocational certificate and college degree programs.
  • Ashworth said that the FTC “missed the mark” by targeting the school, and that the college “emphatically disputes that its practices did not comply with regulations.” The school said the FTC focused on “a few isolated incidents that are not representative of Ashworth’s practices and policies.”

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