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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.

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Jobs & Making Money

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I also attended during those times. 2009 through 2013 and also 2014 thru 2017 but the finance department stated i was not owed anything! That is also deceptive!!!

I enrolled in 2013 after being out of school for two years with the hopes of graduating and finding a job. Do I qualify?

This absolutely horrible and misleading yet again!! Good Job University of Phoenix.. You are very deceiving in explaining things and you technically won this. No one owes this school directly. We had to take out loans for the most part. Absolutely ridiculous!! This settlement is a joke!!
They made me take loans out to attend class in this time frame and then my degree wasn't even good enough for the job that I go the degree for!! Shame on this school.

I was a student during the settlement period. How can I find out how to apply for my part of the $50 million settlement fine?

The FTC will identify people who are eligible for a payment from the $50 million the University paid to the FTC as part of the settlement. 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 the University of Phoenix between 2008-2010, I received an associates degree and have debt for that degree in excess of $80,000. Am I eligible for this loan forgiveness?

The University is not forgiving loans under the settlement with the FTC.

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.

What if your address is different than what they had?

This is a clear indication of UDAAP which as the FTC knows is unfair, deceptive, or abusive acts or practices by those who offer financial products or services to consumers. So the FTC goes by these laws and we (the students) have clearly been treated unfairly and nothing can be done. You (FTC) know good and well most of us (the students) could not directly owe the school and we HAD to take out loans. So now WE cannot get our money back. Practice what you preach FTC. You got your money, what about ours?

The press release explains that University of Phoenix settled with the FTC for a record $191 million. The University will pay $50 million in cash to the FTC which will be used for consumer payments, as well as cancel $141 million in debts owed to the school by students who were harmed by the deceptive ads.

The University stopped collection of $141 million in debt owed to the University by students who enrolled between October 1, 2012 and December 31, 2016, that the University could collect or refer to a collection agency.

Is there a separate lawsuit that "those affected during that time with Federal loans" need to file against UOP and the FTC? This is very deceptive and the FTC knows it. You are continually generic answers. $191 million indeed was not paid to UOP directly by students. Most of us between 2012 and 2016 used student loans. UOP has already informed me that I don't qualify because it was a federal loan. However, I was affected just as much as the so called students who paid "directly to the school". This is utterly ridiculous and I am sure that students with Federal loans will fight this until we receive our fund.

I too went there during that specified time. How do I receive a refund?

I suspect the vast majority of attendees during the affected dates secured funds through loans as that was the process the university had established. Attendees that owe the university directly will have their loans wiped to the tune of $141 million. $50 million was given to the FTC to be distributed. I’m assuming the $50 million will go to those that received loans through other means. Anyone that paid out of pocket or has already paid off their loans will receive nothing.

I am clueless as to how this settlement was agreed upon as it is completely imbalanced. There is no equality here. All attendees should split evenly the funds recovered regardless of how payments were made or the status of those payments. I suspect the $50 million isn’t even scratching the surface of those holding federal loans. I still owe about $20k in federal loans. Will be interesting to see how the $50 million is disbursed among loan holders.

And if you worked hard to pay down or paid off your loan early, or saved and payed cash out of pocket to avoid loans. I guess your just screwed. Even though ALL attendees were affected by their deceptive practices, not all attendees will receive equal compensation.

Watch closely what happens to the $50 million folks, just watch that. It will answer the question as to why this lopsided deal was agreed to.

Phil, There is a mistake in one of your comments. Under the settlement, the University is not wiping out student loans "to the tune of $141 million."

Under the settlement between the FTC and the University of Phoenix, 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 debts that people owe are fees and other charges that the University could collect or transfer to a collection agency.

Also, the FTC will identify people who are eligible for a payment from the $50 million the University paid to the FTC. The FTC has not yet identified those people. You don’t have to apply or submit a claim to get a payment. If you want to get email updates about the settlement, please sign up here.

So referring back to my initial posts, and based on the information that's being provided here, what would it take to get the FTC to address and investigate the concerns and complaints of former students who were enrolled prior to Oct. 1, 2012 (at least go back to 2000), given there were numerous complaints being made about deceptive practices during this time---and, in fact, these issues were also brought to light several times on the news and shows like 20/20 in their undercover report segements, which could probably be found on YouTube.

Why approve for such an agreement when the vast majority of students have federal loans, and the deal did not even bother to include nor take our cases into consideration? And the whole thing about owing the school---I know for a fact I paid out of pocket for several classes (talking a minimum of $1,000) when my financial aid supposedly ran out. This waa the only way I could continue my classes and it had to be paid in full otherwise I would be jeopardy of being withdrawn or dropped completely from my program. Needless to say, upon graduation, whatever is owed to the school had to be paid first. Yet, the University isn't going to refund payments to those who've paid directly to it?

As a University of Phoenix graduate, this school is fraud, fraud, fraud! Cancel my student loans and pay me back for my time wasted! The University of Phoenix has billions of student loan money that gives out fake college degrees!

All students who took out student loans should have the loans cancelled! The school has billions in dollars of student loans just give all the money back to the government and cancel all student loan debt! I don't understand why there is a cap amount on the lawsuit just cancel all student loans with University of Phoenix on the loan application. Give refunds to students who paid out of pocket and also to companies that offered tuition reimbursement.

I was also promised great opportunities that never panned out. I currently have student loan debt I can barely pay. When will relief from this debt be given? Is there a timeline? What about the money already paid?

The settlement between the FTC and the University of Phoenix does not affect your private loans or federal government loans. The Federal Student Aid Office of the US Department of Education has information about repaying student loans at www.StudentLoans.gov. The Federal Student Aid Office of the US Department of Education has information about repaying student loans at www.StudentLoans.gov. The site has information about different ways of repaying, how to consolidate loans, and what to do if your loans have gone into default. 

The University 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.

Do you know when the letters will be sent out?

What about those Veterans who used up all their G.I. Bill to pay for their Degrees and were also victims of this? First Wyotech, now University of Phoenix! How exactly do they plan on paying back the benefits to veterans after they exhausted all of them?I'm 6 class away from a Bachelors Degree and had to take a break until I find a way to pay for the rest of my classes. I am truly outraged, I did not serve this country to be lied to, made a fool of, and have my hard earned education benefits basically stolen by known universities.

The FTC will identify people who are eligible for a payment from the $50 million University of Phoenix settlement with the FTC. That could include people who used military benefits. 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.

Just because the UOP is supposed to contact you got forgiveness does not mean it is going to happen! The years they listed in the settlement should be expanded to prior to 2011 this is is solely for the governments best interest because they paid money for veterans to attend via the GI Bill but never mind the non-veterans that are suffering because of the debt hanging over their heads to repay the government in student loans.

The FTC will identify people who are eligible for a payment from the $50 million University of Phoenix settlement with the FTC. That could include people who used military benefits. 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 enrolled in University of Phoenix for a while, but I found out that it wasn’t credible. I’m I eligible for refund. Cecilia Pridgen

It says on dec 19 , 2019 there is an update so how do we know if we we’ll be getting money from the $50 million ? Also is there someone we can contact to find out if we are?

We posted the blog on December 10, and added new information on December 19. The added information is the "update."

The update says 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 also was brought in right after leaving the military under these false claims of job security through UOP. I now have over $50k in student loan debt, don't work in my field, and they never even tried to help me with job placement. How do i know if i qualify?

The FTC needs to work with the Department of Education to cancel all student loans that are on file with the University of Phoenix regardless if the student applied for borrower defense or not. This lawsuit clearly shows how the school lies to students!

I graduated July 2008 from their Bachelor of Science in Information Technology program, I applied to 300 I.T. jobs with the University of Phoenix, gave up applying after 2010 because I found out about them, and not once has the school called or emailed back saying the job was filled, I wasn't qualified, etc. etc. Heck even their own I.T. degree is not good enough for their I.T. department.

The school lies on FAFSA applications saying the student has a high school diploma or GED and they do not. To qualify for student loans you need one or the other and lying to the government is a crime because the school lied on the government FAFSA application!

Come on FTC get all our student loans discharged, cancelled, erased, and taken off our credit reports. You need to work with the Department of Education. Other schools which were closed down permanently for fraud like ITT Tech and all Corinthian Colleges, some of those students already had 100% student loan forgiveness from their borrower defense applications. ITT Tech and Corinthian Colleges did the same thing like the University of Phoenix, they lied to students and lied to the government.

All student loans on file with the University of Phoenix need to be cancelled today so come on! And shut down this diploma mill!

I enrolled in 2014 for a doctoral program, and withdrew in 2016. I owed the university about $2500 for withdrawing because my loan funding was returned to the lender. In 2018, their collection agency contacted me and I set up monthly payments to avoid the negative account hitting my credit. The $2500 is paid off now, so since it was paid to UOPx through their collection process, does that count as part of the $50 million the FTC will be issuing?

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.

Is there an estimated time frame as to when these students will be identified and how long it will take to receive the refunds? I understand updates will be given, but it seems those who owed the school have already seeing some relief. Those of us who have already paid amounts owed on our own and may be entitled to a refund seem to be left hanging with not much to go on.

Hello,

I have a few important questions.

1) In several replies, you state that "the FTC will identify people who are eligible for a payment from the $50 million the University paid to the FTC."

What is the criteria the FTC is using to identify these people?

2) What recourse does one have if their education at UOPx was funded entirely by Federal Student Loans? It appears that student loans are not subject to the settlement. How can this be?

If you want to get email updates about this settlement, including payments, please sign up here.

That's correct, the settlement between the FTC and the University of Phoenix does not affect loans that students took from private sources or the federal government. 

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 Federal Student Aid Office of the US Department of Education has information about repaying student loans at www.StudentLoans.gov. The Federal Student Aid Office of the US Department of Education has information about repaying student loans at www.StudentLoans.gov.

 

This is very upsetting. I have $25,000 in Student loan debt i was told by the recruiter i would not have to pay back. They took my income tax last year and I'm a single mother who counts on that money once a year to buy what my daughter and i can't afford the rest of the year. Now your telling me that not only am I not included in this settlement but the deception that i suffered doesn't even matter cause it wasn't during this particular scam period. That's some grade A BS. They'll just figure out a new way to deceive people, they're definitely not going to stop seeing as how I was scammed in 2006-2007 and it's obviously still happening just in different ways.

The Federal Student Aid Office of the US Department of Education has information about repaying student loans at www.StudentLoans.gov. The Federal Student Aid Office of the US Department of Education has information about repaying student loans at www.StudentLoans.gov. There's information about different ways of repaying, how to consolidate loans, what to do if your loans have gone into default because you haven't paid.

University of phoenix told me so many lies just to get me enrolled. I was in homeless shelter with no regular access to internet and only had phone and they still enrolled me - they lied and got me in so much debt. The and dept of Ed took my tax refund over $9,000 when I needed it most. They lied and used deceptive admission practices. Please tell me how can i file claim what they did to me and my family is illegal. They caused such financial hardship. Who can I call?

You could look at the US Department of Education information about repaying student loans at www.StudentLoans.gov. There is information about different ways of repaying, how to consolidate loans, lowering payments, loan forgiveness and other topics. 

It is unfair to the public to deceived by the university of Phoenix being promised something that's never going to amount to anything job related, and now I owe for a degree that can't be utilized, how can I be reimbursed for my valuable time and efforts spent updating a degree that can't be utilized.

I owe money for my student loans that the school directed to me under Apollo and now Nelnet. When I log into the school site it has a breakdown of my student loan repayment in which is says "Federal loans borrowed at University of Phoenix " with a total I owe. Is this considered in the settlement? Its is confusing to me that loans students took out to attend are not considered, ( since the school directed us in this direction) considering most if not all can not fork up front to attend.

No, the settlement between the FTC and the University of Phoenix does not affect your loans from private sources or the federal government.

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 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.

I was one who was given wrong advice from a counselor saying I needed the max amount in loans when I didn’t causing more debt than what was needed!

How do I quality for the law suit being a former student.

The UofP sold my loans to Navient. Will I still qualify?

I paid cash for my 2011 Masters degree. How doo I receive reimbursement for overcharging?

I graduated from UOP in 2010. I have still not been able to land a solid job or start a fruitful career. When I can get an interview, once they see the college that I’ve graduated from (UOP), they just look at each other and ask “what specific course work would I say prepares me for the role.” Followed by, no call backs.

I was in debt for about $70,000. After just my B.S. degree. After creditors harassment and letters, I ended up having to sell my family home to cover the entire debt . Years later and still unable to recover. I attended 2006 a 2010. Will I be able to recover that money? The university was no help in helping me find a job either...

When does the FTC "Estimate" the $50 million will be sent to qualifying students? Does the process take months, years?

Please sign up here like to get email updates from the FTC about this settlement.

I went to UOPH and was enrolled in 2016. I graduated with an Associate's Degree in 2018 but continued classes to pursue a Bachelor's Degree. I withdrew from the school and my loans were returned, now they have a company calling me saying I owe them money. On top of that, they won't release my transcripts. The third party company that they have contacting me want you to disclose person information to them before they tell you what they are calling for. If you don't want to give them any information about yourself, they hang up on you. I still haven't even been able to find a job with the degree I already from UOPH and can't go to another school because they are holding my transcripts hostage.

I am in the same situation as you are. The staff at UOP will not supply any information unless it’s about paying money.

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