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FTC settlement against University of Phoenix

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Most people go to college to earn a degree and get a good job. In a competitive job market, it helps to have connections. So when a college or university claims it has relationships with well-known employers, that may convince you to attend. But beware: Claims like this may be a ploy to attract new students — and your tuition dollars. In fact, the FTC says that’s just what one for-profit university did as part of an extensive advertising campaign.

In a proposed settlement announced today, the FTC says that for-profit University of Phoenix, and its parent company, Apollo Education Group, Inc., falsely claimed that their relationships with top companies created job opportunities specifically for Phoenix students and deceptively claimed they worked with these companies to develop courses. 

FTC settlement with University of Phoenix

The FTC says that University of Phoenix used a multi-media ad campaign to attract students, including ads specifically targeted to military and Hispanic consumers. The companies’ “Let’s Get to Work” campaign featured several high-profile employers, including Microsoft, Twitter, Adobe, and Yahoo!, giving the false impression that UOP worked with those companies to create job opportunities for its students.

As part of the $191 million settlement, the companies will return $50 million in cash to former students and cancel $141 million in student debt owed directly to the school. The proposed order prohibits the companies from further deceptive business practices. In addition, it requires them to ask consumer reporting agencies to delete the debts from people’s credit reports, give notice to those who got debt cancellation, and make sure people have access to their diplomas and transcripts.

Before enrolling in school, it’s important to do your homework. You can get important information about any school at the U.S. Department of Education’s College Navigator. For example, if you enter a school’s name, you can find out if it’s public or private, for-profit or non-profit, its accreditation status, and its student loan default rates.

Also, check out what are people are saying about schools you’re considering. Search online for the school’s name plus words like “review,” “complaint” or “scam.”

If you’re looking to advance your education, do your homework to be sure you know what you’re paying for. Check out Choosing a College: Questions to Ask.

Added on December 19, 2019: The FTC will identify people who are eligible for a payment from the $50 million University of Phoenix settlement with the FTC. You don’t have to apply or submit a claim to get a payment. If you would like to get email updates about this settlement, please sign up here.

Blog Topics: 
Jobs & Making Money

Comments

Do you know if this refund applies to students who paid cash upfront for classes between the affected date?

Do you owe money directly to the University for fees or some other kind of charge?

The University will cancel the debts of students who owe fees or other charges directly to the school, for students who enrolled for the first time between October 1, 2012 and December 31, 2016. The University will send a notice to each person whose debt to the school is being cancelled.

I am eligible for the time frame. What if I was paying the amount to them. Do I receive my funds back? Thanks

Hi, I’m a graduated student with two degrees within those years. Nowhere near a job in my field. However, I have students loans in which the UoP supplied the lender to me. Will I be a student who is offered these funds or cancelled debt? It’s the wording of “owing the school directly” that throws me off.

The settlement between the FTC and the University of Phoenix does not affect loans that students have with the federal government or private lenders. To find out who your lender is, look at your account online, or look at the paperwork you signed when you took out the loan.

Under the settlement, the University will cancel $141 million in debts that are owed directly to the school by people who first enrolled at the school between October 1, 2012 and December 31, 2016. The University will cancel debts owed directly to the school whether they were charged as fees or some other kind of charge.

The University also paid $50 million to the FTC as part of the settlement. The FTC will identify people who are eligible for a payment from the $50 million the University paid to the FTC. You don’t have to apply or submit a claim to get a payment. If you would like to get email updates about this settlement, please sign up here.

My husband is a disabled veteran that attended Phoenix University between 2012 and 2016 and we have not heard anything from the FTC. Will he be recieving a refund for all those courses? Is there someone we can contact?

The FTC will identify people who are eligible for a payment from the $50 million University of Phoenix settlement with the FTC. You don’t have to apply or submit a claim to get a payment. If you would like to get email updates about this settlement, please sign up here.

I went to school here from 2004-2008, both bachelors and Masters programs with Subsidized and unsubsidized student loan’s that have been consolidated by the government. The school tricked me into believing that my interest rate was going to be one thing for the entirety of my schooling and then when I completed my degrees I found out that the interest rates were different for each loan that they took out.
In my last year at the school I had a position with a company who reimbursed for tuition. In my last three classes the school refused to let me continue until I filled out a FASFA. I explain to them that I wanted to be cash for the remainder of school because my company was paying for my tuition. Against my wishes they applied for a full years worth of loans increasing my tuition bill by another $15,000. They are crooks, I should be able to get some restitution.

I took the online classes and curious to when will people be notified of the refund and how that determination is made. I think the school is a rip off and I have not had any luck finding a job in my field. And the cost to attend is extremely high. I have paid back a lot of money and still don't see any progress being made of getting close to paying it off.

To get email updates about this settlement, please sign up here.

My student loans were wiped out but there still taking my tax returns for the student loans how can I get it back figure out why they took it last then sent it back almost yr later and now yesterday took this year's tax return when they weren't susoose to

I don’t believe that 2012 is when the deception by advisors began. I got out of the army in 2004 and can i get you started today with them. I didn’t graduate until 2011 because of a break but the prices were ridiculous. Being fresh out of the army they assured me that I’d be ready to enter the civilian sector. Come to find out I needed a certification to which I wasn’t prepared for because my degree was in science, which I constantly argued and was told that I’m on the right course by the counselors and advisors. So in my opinion they’ve been deceiving people!

I went to the University of Phoenix $300.. And I w And I went to Apollo School of Phoenix And I paid them $8,000 cash. Well I'll be getting a refund from both schools

I was denied by UOP because I took out a student loan to pay them so I don't owe them directly. This is BS - who still owes them on the books from 20212 - 2016?

I was also someone who went to UOP and understood that I would have a job as well. i was told by an advisor that any money borrowed would not have to be paid back. I enrolled. I was almost finished with my program, when I was told that I had to complete yet another degree and that the program I was offered and almost finished with was no longer available to me. I had to drop out. I soon learned from thr Advisor who enrolled me into the school to start with was earning monies for enrolling students, and now I also learned that I did indeed have to pay all funds back. I had no problem with this, due to the fact that I would earn an AA degree. But, when I was suddenly pushed into another program that I did not sign up for.... that is when I learned that there was something very wrong. I had no chioce but to drop out. Now, I am stuck with a huge bill accruing interest evry month for something I was forced out of. i never got to complete the program I signed up for. Yet, I owe over 18,000.00.

Good job FTC! Good job getting these student’s debts forgiven!

They are not including students who took out federal loans. I have no idea how students owe the university of phoenix. They have to pay as they go or the university will not let them continue. So what the heck???

How will students know if their loans are fore given or refund etc? I also need my transcripts.

Under the settlement, the University of Phoenix will cancel $141 million in debts certain former students owe to the school. Those former students first enrolled during the time period people were probably exposed to the school's deceptive advertising. The settlement doesn't affect students' private loans or federal government loans.

University of Phoenix will send a notice to each person whose debt to the school is being cancelled. The notice will come by email or paper mail. The notice will have information about getting transcripts.

When is the time period?

Under the settlement, the University of Phoenix will cancel $141 million in debts of people who first enrolled during the period starting October 1, 2012 and ending December 31, 2016, during the time people were probably exposed to the school's deceptive advertising. The University will cancel debts that people owe directly to the school. The debts will be forgiven whether they were charged as fees or some other kind of charge.

University of Phoenix will send a notice to each person whose debt to the school is being cancelled.

what happens to enrollments prior to 2012? Is there any relief?

Under the settlement, the University of Phoenix will cancel $141 million in debts former students who first enrolled between October 1, 2012 and December 31, 2016 owe directly to the University.

That's the time period when people were probably exposed to the University's deceptive advertising. The FTC says the University falsely claimed it had relationships and job opportunities with companies like AT&T, Yahoo!, Microsoft, Twitter, and The American Red Cross.

I was enrolled during that time, were I finished in Dec 2012. Would I qualify?

I paid a lot of fees to the school separately that were not part of financial aid

what about people that use they GI benefits from the VA to pay for the school and now the don't have anything left to pursue another degree, is that money being refunded to the VA??

This is a ridiculous settlement. Hardly anyone owes money directly to the school. I hope that starts coming out. This is a facade to make it look like something was done.

Under the settlement, the University will cancel $141 million in debts owed to the school by students who were harmed by deceptive ads and ask credit reporting agencies to delete the debt from students' credit reporting files.

I attended University from 2011 to 2014. I have not heard anything from them. How can I find out if I am owed a refund?

I agree. I'm sure everyone took out a federal loan. I did. Why is this not included. How do you apply for a fed loan forgiveness?

I agree I attended late 2010 to 2015 and was told and showed how to apply for federal loan's. And when I didn't pay they wouldn't allow me to attend the next course. So either no one owes a large amount or they prayed on loans. I owe 67 grand in loans and UOP made sure they got theirs first.

I agree! I have have major loans!! How di we get help with the loans we took out that were paid to UoP?

Agreed! I am so broke with a degree class of 2016 and a loan payment sky high and no relief!

Agreed! I would think the people that were affected but had to get a loan to pay for school should be given the same treatment. :(

No fair treatment.. only looks to be. Money ... No Money

The FTC will identify people who are eligible for a payment from the $50 million University of Phoenix settlement with the FTC. You don’t have to apply or submit a claim to get a payment. If you would like to get email updates about this settlement, please sign up here.

Agreed

It not fair that only the students that are going to benefit are the one that owe s money directly to the University, they will not allowed to start the semester if they did not got paid. I do not think is fair this settlement for students who have Federal Student Debt and are not cover under this settlement. I am a single mom that have a debt of $54,000 and can't find a good job that can help me to pay for my bills.

That's what I was thinking . If I sudnt have student loan.. set in place and good to go . There was no starting the class. So how the hell .. people OWE the school money. That's every college I have come across.. PAY NOW OR NO CLASS.

I agree that we who paid with student loans should be in on this settlement. I was told that getting your associates degree is like getting you highschool diploma. I was like really! I did not pay over 30k for my highschool diploma... They promise you the world and I am in debt with just dollars about minimum wage. Can't pay aloan on that.

I completely agree. Also I graduated in 2011. I have a student loan dept that ballooned from 35 or 40,000 to 60000. I am crippled. I couldn't get a decent job for many years while interest went up. I have stopped using their name on my resume. I was asked by an employer once why I chose such a bad school for a masters after I had been to a good school. The advertising was deceptive I thought I could find work while doing the program. Once in they threatened you from leaving saying you would be liable for the rest of the fees. Meaning I was stuck to complete or loose money and transferring after you were in was a pain. I am in pain having to pay all that debt. All that time lost and money. How come the year 2012 is mentioned only. How about those in 2011 who were clueless and got sucked into their fake advertising and lies. When you called the office w concerns only lies came out of their mouths . You know felt something was wrong but they lied and lied and lied. Ruining people's lives. I need help too.

Exactly!! I agree as well! Mostly everyone took out a federal loan! Very deceiving

Agreed Brandia Im in the same boat

That’s exactly what it is. UOPX knows they won’t have to pay back hardly anything because they won’t let you start a class without paying every penny due on your account even though they legally weren’t allowed to collect those funds. So basically, the settlement is a joke. They will be paying back hardly anything and us students sucked in will owe the Dept of Ed even after retirement since the degree essentially is worthless. More needs to be done to hold them accountable for their actions. They sent me an email about this settlement saying they did nothing wrong and should continue an education with them. They absolutely are wrong. I was roped in by being told they personally work with the Board of Education in my state and getting a teaching degree through them would mean they could get me employment in my home state. Well, wrong, my home state wants nothing to do with this university. I have chalked it up to a 69,000 dollar lesson on life. In order to even get use of that degree, I will have to incur more debt and get a masters in education at a local institution. For students who were directly lied to like this, and I know there are a thousand more for every word I type here, the University should have to pay back their loans as well. This lawsuit won’t touch the pockets of the CEO and higher ups, so what lesson with they learn? Lie to them through phones calls ( I was subjected to calls and campaign ads) if they just continue it by phone, there’s no way to prove it. This is an epic fail.. this is not a beneficial class action lawsuit.. it will help none of the victims.

Exactly! BS! I owe a kit of money to UOP and it’s financial aid! That’s not ok!

I like Brandi Williams am suspect about the settlement, why weren't federal loans taken out during the University's deceptive conduct not included?

Am I understanding this correctly? If we attended University of Phoenix during the time period in question and received federal student loans, we are NOT eligible for loan forgiveness?

The settlement between the University of Phoenix and the FTC doesn't affect your private loans or federal student loans. This settlement doesn't affect whether you are or are not eligible for loan forgiveness from your lender.

The University also paid $50 million to the FTC as part of the overall settlement. The FTC will identify people who are eligible for a payment from the $50 million the University of Phoenix paid to the FTC. You don’t have to apply or submit a claim to get a payment. If you would like to get email updates about this settlement, please sign up here.

This is unfair. I am trying to make sense of why federal student loans will not be forgiven but I can't.

So they guided me thru to get federal loans and I am in the same job all these years later. I owe those still? Does not seem fair that many of us that got conned into doing that will get zero back. I owe a lot of money in loans that are serviced by Great Lakes. Wow and I went there from 2012 to 2016.

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