For-profit colleges asked to reimburse students

Ivan Weis-Palacios, North Campus Editor

After an investigation into student loan debt, Pennsylvania’s top law enforcement officer has announced action.

Josh Shapiro, Pennsylvania’s state attorney general, declared that for-profit education company Career Education Corporation (CEC) will release a total of $493 million in debts. Of that nearly half billion amount, $38 million of that amount is owed by over 12,000 Pennsylvanians.
In 2014, a group of 49 state attorneys general launched an investigation against CEC, which operated schools like Sanford-Brown College, Katharine Gibbs College, AIU, Le Cordon Bleu, and numerous more.

The investigation revealed that students were misled about the cost to attend, the transferability of credits, graduation rates and more.

According to their findings, the attorneys general claimed CEC used emotionally charged-language to pressure students into enrolling in CEC’s schools and quoted fees based on cost per credit hour without disclosing the total number of required credit hours. Their findings also say students were misled about the transferability of credits to other institutions.

Further, CEC misrepresented the potential for graduates to obtain employment in their field.
CEC officials denied the charges but agreed to the settlement, which includes independent monitoring of the company’s compliance.

CEC operated no less than six colleges in Pennsylvania with one branch of Sanford–Brown Institute being open in Pittsburgh. All campuses are now closed with CEC rapidly downsizing.

Many people considered CEC School to be an outright scam with one student local to the Pittsburgh area having this to say, “I would never go to a for-profit school, but it’s awesome that those people will get their money back.” The student requested not to be named and it is unlikely that all students will get all their money back.

The organization has agreed to reform their methods moving forward. In addition to making no further misrepresentations concerning accreditation, placement rates, transferability of credit, CEC will disclose the total anticipated cost to students and potential median earnings. New undergraduates who enroll with fewer than 24 online credits will also be offered an orientation program.

In Pennsylvania CEC operated four Sanford-Brown Colleges and two Katharine Gibbs Colleges. Currently CEC still runs several online for-profit colleges.

Former students with debt relief eligibility questions can contact CEC. Any Pennsylvania students seeking help can contact the Attorney General’s Bureau of Consumer Protection at 800-441-2555.