A 2009-2010 investigation by the Government Accountability Office (GAO) uncovered a series of unethical and questionable practices carried out by some for-profit colleges across the country. These colleges have come under fire for churning out graduates who were unable to find work with their qualifications because of issues such as lack of accreditation and inadequate training and education.
The GAO enlisted individuals who then went undercover to try to register as students. Their conversations were recorded and videotaped to catch the perpetrators in the act. Colleges targeted in this sting included:
- University of Phoenix
- Argosy University
- Kaplan College
- Everest College
- Westech College in California
- Bennett Career Institute in DC
- Potomac College (now called University of Potomac) in DC
- MedVance Institute (now called FORTIS Institute) in Florida
- College of Office Technology in Illinois
- Anthem Institute in Pennsylvania
- Westwood College in Texas
- ATI Career Training in Texas
- And more…
In one instance, one recruiter was recorded trying to enroll a student and telling them to apply for a student loan when they didn’t need it since they could pay for tuition out of pocket. Yet another recruiter was caught on tape telling a prospective student that they could earn $100 an hour as a massage therapist when 90 percent of workers in this industry only make about $34 or less per hour. Yet another student was encouraged to invent three dependents in order to qualify for a larger amount of money when it comes to student loans.
These questionable practices have seen for-profit colleges receive more than $20 billion in federal loans and grants. Given the lax regulations in this field, these colleges are having a field day enrolling students making false statements regarding their employment opportunities and expected income post-graduation.
The GAO report did not find any incidences of grand fraud; however, deceptive psychological and marketing tactics employed by these colleges put the financial lives of students at risk, wasting their time and resources for an education or training that may not pan out in line with their expectations.
Recruiters Incentivized Heavily
Recruiters hired by these colleges are promised hefty rewards and commissions based on the number of students they sign up. Some of these individuals were trained in psychological tactics to enable them to find a student’s weakness and exploit it in order to get them to enroll.
For-Profit Colleges Notorious For Unethical Practices
Among some of the allegations faced by for profit colleges is the dumbing down or oversimplification of course work in order to get every student to pass. This is done to create a false sense of accomplishment on the student’s part. High grades such as A’s are easy to get, and those that fail are given numerous chances such as being offered supplementary papers so they can pass and move on to the next course.
Another practice that puts these colleges under scrutiny is over exaggeration of the number of credits it will take for a student to graduate. These colleges create unneeded units just so they can make more money off students who are forced to take them as part of their diploma or degree course.
Culture of Silence and Oppression
Teachers who spoke up or questioned these practices were threatened or bullied by fellow teachers or the administration. Some were fired for breaking the vow of silence and made to sign non-disclosure agreements. It’s this culture of oppression and misrepresentation of facts that has legislators and education officials up in arms over why nothing aggressive is being down to stop this cancer before it can become systemic and widespread.
Scammed By a For-Profit College? Get Help Today!
If you’ve been a victim of these unethical practices, there’s hope. By contacting a for-profit college scam lawyer and talking to them about your specific case, you might have a chance at filing a lawsuit against the institution in order to recover your hard earned money as well as damages to compensate you for the pain and suffering you may have gone through in your quest to find quality education. Please get in touch with Rasansky Law Firm today for a free consultation via the contact form on this page.