N.H. students getting $4.6 M in debt relief from for-profit college

NASHUA – A for-profit education company will settle complaints that it allegedly engaged in “unfair and deceptive practices” by agreeing to forgo about $500 million worth of debt owed by nearly 180,000 students.

New Hampshire Attorney General Gordon MacDonald said more 1,572 students from the Granite State will see a total relief of about $4.6 million because of this action.

Attorneys general representing every state except California and New York are settling the claims they made against Schaumburg, Illinois-based Career Education Corp. California and New York are working through their own deals regarding the allegations.

Information provided by MacDonald shows the company has operated through entities known as Briarcliffe College, Brooks Institute, Brown College, Harrington College of Design, International Academy of Design & Technology, Le Cordon Bleu, Missouri College, and Sanford-Brown.

The investigation into Career Education Corp. began in January 2014 amid complaints from students. The complaints included allegations the company:

Deceived students about the total costs of enrollment by instructing its admissions representatives to inform prospective students only about the cost per credit hour without disclosing the total number of required credit hours;

Misled students about the transferability of credits to other institutions by promising on some occasions that credits would transfer; and

Misrepresented the potential for students to obtain employment in the field by failing to adequately disclose the fact that certain programs lacked accreditation.

Under the terms of the agreement, the company must make no further misrepresentations regarding accreditation, transferring of credits, or licensure requirements. It must also now provide a single-page disclosure form to each student describing the anticipated total cost of his or her education.

“The resolution of this open inquiry is an important milestone for the company that coincides with the completion last month of a multi-year process of teaching out and closing our transitional campuses,” company CEO Todd Nelson said. “We have remained steadfast in our belief that we can work with the attorneys general to demonstrate the quality of our institutions and our commitment to students.”

Former students with debt relief eligibility questions are urged to contact CEC at: www.careered.com/About-Career-Education/Contact-Us. Other listed methods of contact include: CStudentAccounts@careered.com, or 1-888-810-4556.