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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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The FTC will send email updates about this settlement. You can sign up here to get the updates.

What will happen with the ones we use federal loan student to paid for the master degree and we are not getting anything from these settlement. I receive the letter back in December I call the University and they said that I still owe my student loans, which is not fair. I was part of the false advertising and I still have to paid the student loan.

melinda I was there not only was I lied to the did not adhere to my disability to give special modifications until a year and a half after being there got put on academic probation when they never adhere to my disability paperwork. Never even said sorry.

I attended UOP from June 2014-2016. Will I qualify for some of the settlement to help pay off my loans I used for attending UOP?

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 used used up most of all my va benefits on this school. Will I get any money back to attend a different school? I also, paid some out of pocket. Would those be taken into consideration if I enrolled during those years?

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 believe I’m one of these victims as well. First this college stopped me from being hired for jobs do to the class I had to attend one day a week. Also, before signing; I was told after graduating I would only have to pay $10k in student loans. I attended the college 2 years and now I owe over $30k. FOR 2 YEARS!!!! I stopped going because I had to work and now I’m being haggled by the university to pay this loan. I’m not giving them a cent for a degree I did not receive.

When will the FTC provide more updates?

I think this is unfair to those of us who were lied to also but attended the school during earlier dates. I went from 2007 - 2009 and heard the same promises and did not find a job in the field. How did we get left out of the lawsuit when we were affected just as much as the others?

I asked the same thing. Why were other excluded? I was told it was a major University.

I was completely deceived by the University of Phoenix. The counselors originally entered me into a Bachelor program then changed me to an Associate program in Psychology 72k later I ended with an Associates of Arts degree. No job or degree in the field I studied and debt over double the cost of a Master Degree in Psychology. My counselors changed frequently, the message changed but the deception and debt I am experiencing has stayed constant. If anyone reading this comment can provide me in the direction of Help...It will be much appreciated.

If you have federal loans, you can look at information from the Federal Student Aid Office of the US Department of Education. The have information about different repayment options at www.StudentLoans.gov.

It has been 2 months since this article came out. Do you know when the ftc will update people on when they may receive money or expect to bE notified from the $50 million settlement

I am also wondering when will the FTC start the process of getting notify who qualifies under the $50 million settlement. I sign to get email information but no updated information about the $50 million.

I attended and graduated from the University of Phoenix 2009-2010.
I was told at the time of registration I would be "getting paid to go to college" and after graduation, "placed in a career associated to my degree".

Once I realized the money being sent to me was a "loan", I reached out to the school and was told, "just stay registered in one class and you will never have to pay the loan back".
I re-enrolled. Once I did my own research and realized what I was doing to myself, I quit!

I now owe nearly 40K for an Associate's degree in Criminal Justice that I have never and will never use.

What about those affected prior to your given dates??

Hello, I am curious as well to see if I am part of this lawsuit. I attend during the period spoken of, but it was for my bachelors, so is there anyway to get help for the associate program as well. I first started the program back in 2010-2011 with promises of better jobs, higher salary, and job placement. Only to find out years later that it means nothing. I am now certainly not using two degrees from them, and owe all this money in student loans.
Does this lawsuit help people who have student loans? I would like anyones help at this point. I feel stuck, and scammed.

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.

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.

I was a student from 2010 to 2016. Up until now am still working in the same place I was before despite having a Masters. It's not right to lie to people who are trying to build their future through education. Having come from a poor background I was very proud being the first person to have a Degree in my family. But now all I can boast about is a paper with nothing to be proud of. I wanted to set an example to my children too but right now there is nothing worth showing off. The only thing that I can say is that I have some knowledge that I didn't have before but my aim was not only knowledge but WORK. Unfortunately am still struggling especially to pay the Student loan which was over $100,000.

The Federal Student Aid Office of the US Department of Education has information for people who have federal student loans at www.StudentLoans.gov. There is information about different ways of repaying and how to consolidate 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.

When is there going to be an update to who is getting a payment from the $50 million ?

I'm in the same boat this university,false promises of a better and brighter future. Lost nights at diffrent campus across Florida traveling and completing courses. Just a piece of paper and $75,000.00 on in necessary debts. Now they are telling me I dont qualify for this relief. This is still a complete scam any lawyers aouthere can help!

What of the people whose loans were through places like Great Lake? I’m up to my ears in debt from going to UoP and cannot get a job as promised. They told me I could get a school counselor job with an associates and that was not correct. I’m not even anywhere in the field that I was studying.

I attended UOP from 2011 to 2013 and graduated with an Associate's Degree in Business and they stated this would open many doors to a higher paying job. When I graduated the only job I could find with this degree were jobs paying less than I was making with my current employer. I even went to the school employment site and all of the jobs listed for students with an AA degree were minimum wage jobs. They falsely lead me to believe the degree I earned after paying over 20k would lead me to a high paying job. When I spoke with my student advisor she stated I just need to keep searching. I never did find that job.

I went to university of Phoenix and they scammed me. They made me take courses and even though I kept telling my counselor that I was not learning anything new and all the material they were giving me was repeat of college work I had already completed at Modesto junior college in Modesto CA they kept on saying that the classes started off slow like that. Well they kept all my fasfa money and then reported to my local federal aid office that I was getting all this money that they were actually keeping. I was cut off completely and was put in such a bad situation that I couldn't pay my rent or bills, my tax returns have been garnished, I owe the welfare department money. University of Phoenix ruined my credit, put me threw homelessness and I have three kids.

I went there got my BA in psychology and no job even applied to many .

I am wondering when will the FTC start the process of getting notify who qualifies under the $50 million settlement. I sign to get email information but no updated information about the $50 million. University of Phoenix started the process back in December 2019, whey can we get an answer from FTC when they will start their process with the $50 million. All FTC had say to sign in to get email updates . I had sign in to get email updates but had received no updates. Can FTC gives us an updated how long will it take for them to start the process of the $50 million and how are they choosing the person that are getting benefit of the $50 million. Please do not just answer to sign for email updates because I did already and FTC has not done any updates since December 19. I am wondering if FTC is really going to use that $50 million for the student that where affected.

I was scammed so bad by the University of Phoenix for not 1 but 3 degrees and every time I had my doubts and shared that they kept calling. I am do far in student debt and cant even use my degrees. I reached out to my Commissioner to seek help and was told it was in federal court so I am at the point of needing an attorney. This whole thing is so frustrating.

I got some negative reporting in reference to some loans I had with University of Phoenix from 2012. These loans were report by Navient. They have not seen be any statements or anything to my house in the last 8 years now all of a sudden I own over 9,000 on three loans and the other three are in default. This is incorrect reporting they got their information from USA funds and another ascdndlum.

The Federal Student Aid Office of the US Department of Education has information for people who have federal student loans at www.StudentLoans.gov. There is information about different ways of repaying and what to do when loans are in default.

I was enrolled in an AA program from 2010-2012 and BS from 2012-2014. I was promised employment assistance I never received (while being encourage to continue to get my BS). Am I eligible for forgiveness?

Is there any help provided to graduate that used the GI Bill. I know it was paid for, but it still took the opportunity away from going to a real university. I wasted my GI Bill and time, and still have a hard time finding employment. Maybe compensation to go to a real school?

I first enrolled at the University of Phoenix in February of 2008. They got me with false advertising too. They said they would help me find a job after my degrees. They did not. And here I sit with 3 pieces of paper for my 3 degrees Including a master's degree. And over 100,000 dollars in debt. It is not fair that I should have that much of a debt for degrees that do me no good. Please Help me with this.

I was a part of this lawsuit received a email stating so and low and behold UNIVERSITY OF PHOENIX TOOK OVER $700 OF MY TAXES AND NOT IT WAS NOT FOR MY FEDERAL LOANS BECAUSE THEY ARE IN DEFERMENT THE IRS MADE I CLEAR THEY COULDN'T HELP ME BECAUSE IT WASN'T FEDERAL LOANS THAT TOOK MY MONEY BUT UNIVERSITY OF PHOENIX SAYING I OWED THE SCHOOL STILL!!! I called UNIVERSITY OF PHOENIX THEY ARE ACTING AS IF THEY HAVE NO CLUE OF MY MONEY AND SAYING I DON'T OWE THEM ANYTHING BECAUSE MY DEBT WAS CLEARED. WELL THE IRS IS NOT GOING TO LIE I WANT MY MONEY BACK ASAP I'M FIGHTING THIS TOOTH AND NAIL WITH A LAWYER.

I fall into the eligible enrollment period (I enrolled in 2012 and am still completing my Doctorate Degree). I ran out of federal financial aid a few years back. I had to take a year off of classes to pay the school directly what I owed them. In 2019, I finished paying the school, and this law suit was settled. Am I eligible for a reimbursement? That would be very helpful as they are making me pay up-front and out of pocket to enroll in my last class. I've had to push it off 3 times while I raise close to $3k. Any advise is appreciated.

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 was an online student at University of Phoenix (Axia) for Health Information of Medical Records. However I was under false claims by their advertisement on television and when I spoke with one of their counselor to help sign me up. They claimed to have relationships with well-known employers, better job replacement with higher pay. And that seem to be an great opportunity to adavance in life and very reason to attend Apollo Education Group. Now I am stuck with student loans that I haven't been able to afford nor applied to become greater in jobs opportunities and pay.
Sincerely Michelle RA.

When I first started UOP I wasn't a high school graduate & I told the financial counselor that, but he said it was fine because I had enough credits to enroll. He told me to check the "Are you a high school graduate" box on the FAFSA so it would process without delays. Each year I attended I was told to do that by a financial counselor when submitting the FAFSA. I was also deceived because I was told that the Software Engineering course I was going in to had locations near me that I would be able to physically attend for some courses that I needed hands on learning with. That was a lie. Over the next couple of years, I requested over and over for information on such locations during certain courses that I was struggling in & was told that all of my courses were only available online. They couldn't help me with a tutor or anything. I failed my last course twice and had to pay out of pocket to retake and finally just gave up due to the financial strain, frustration with the school & being overwhelmed by it all. I didn't receive the degree and am stuck with all this debt for a school that couldn't help me but lied about it. I had found out about the false certification form for loan cancellation due to not graduating high school before attending. I filled it out and sent in my high school transcripts as proof but it was denied because I had stated on my FAFSA that I did graduate high school. I was told by my counselor to say that I did. The counselors are there to guide us so I followed his instruction.

I attended UOP between 2002 and 2006. After many years of fighting with the school financial department about a balance they said I owed, in 2019, I called and made a deal. I paid what they said I owed with my debit card. The UOP debt collector on the phone said these words that had be balling like a baby. She said, "Your balance has been paid in full". I didn't realize how much pain, fear, worry, anxiety, suppression and such emotions were bottled up inside. She felt sorry for me. My degree was mailed to me and transcript was m available almost instantly. UOP has totally taken the last 18 years of my life away from me. But those commercials had big promises. However, I have since used my degree and transcript to enroll in the school I waited 6 years to get into, just to get an online certification in Education. It's taking me 1 year to speak about this. If anyone should get debt forgiveness and award financially compensation for the past 18 years of insanity, it should be me and others like me. My Student Loan has been doubled since 2006 and is still hanging over my head.

I never knew how much my program cost. I was enrolled in the wrong program and by the time I figured it out, it was too late. Pell grant and Cal grant were to pay for my courses however I now owe 85k and no grants are shown on my fed loans. Please be careful.

When do you expect payouts for the $50 million to eligible participants? This article came out in December 2019 and I fall in the eligible category and have heard nothing. I called the FTC and they have no clue. Can you please give us a time frame due to many people facing financial hardships during the COVID-19.

The FTC will send email updates about this settlement. You can sign up here to get the updates.

I went to school at University of Phoenix for my BA in Interdisciplinary Education. It wasnt until my 2nd year was finishing that I was advised to check with my state to see if that degree was accepted in Kentucky. And sadly the answer was no. Now, due to my student loans, I can't even go back to school. In fact, the only state that did accept the degree from this school is Arizona. I have yet to see any relief on my student loans. Welk, other than my taxes being red flagged every year.

Hi, I attended school during the time frame mentioned and even used the so called military discount for spouses. I did not complete my degree due to being unsure with the degree I was persuaded to achieve. I left owing the school money which then was turned over to collections. I paid the money in order to go back to school. I have not been contacted about any sort of refund. Wouldn't this qualify for reimbursement?

I have been with the university of phoenix for 7 years. I have completed my course work for my master's program and because I decided not to student teach, they are giving me a hard time with not allowing me to graduate. I did a change of program which I signed all of the documents and they still keep telling me they do not see everything i have sent them. This is the worst university I have ever been to that keep stuff hidden from students and I will not recommend anyone to attend this college. I do not know what to do because i need my degree. What actions can I take?

Good afternoon. I attended during the identified timeframe and then was told I still owed fees and tuition. This was placed in collections and onto my credit report. Will I be eligible for a refund and able to have that negative item removed from my report?

The University is not giving refunds under this settlement.

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 University will cancel debts owed directly to the school whether they were charged as fees or some other kind of charge. The University will send a notice to each person whose debt to the school is being cancelled.

So the FTC gets to decide where $50 million dollars goes? Under who's oversight? It sounds to me like the FTC just got 50 mil in exchange for allowing UOP to exclude Federal Student Aide recipients from the settlement.
Honestly, how does having a private loan, a federal loan, or owing the the school directly have any relation to what ads I or any other student saw; or how those ads as well as misleading statements from school representatives affected our decisions? There's definitely something wrong with this "Settlement".
I notice it's a "Settlement" not a "Judgement"
I'd sure like to see the rest of the specifics surrounding why I, as a Federal Student Aide recipient, was obviously not fairly represented in this "settlement"
I hope somebody looks into this.
I attended from around 2009-2011(ish), I remember the ads and the "enrollment counselors" touting the same as the ads, but the "student aides" in the local computer-lab sites telling me about the job assistance/placement being BS.

The Complaint for Permanent Injunction and other Equitable Relief and the Stipulated Order for Permanent Injunction and Monetary Judgement, available on the case page, provide information about the settlement.

I went to the University of Phoenix from Dec 2003 thru 2008. My loans were FFELP, but with a commercial owner. When I originally signed up I was told there would be job placement, and also that my total student loan would be no more then $25,000 on the application that they had me sign. The loan ended up being over $45,000.00. They also forced us to purchase electronic books for each class at $75.00 each, without the option to purchase our own. They automatically debited that amount from our loans. By the time I was in my second-third year, they had doubled the price per class. Also when I graduated, they did no job placement efforts at all. Further, when my loan was serviced by City/Sallie Mae/Navient, they put me on forbearance's instead of IBR's, and did not tell me that I had an IBR option to avoid capitalized interest. This has caused over 10,000 in interest to be capitalized on my loan. Do people who are in the same situation as myself get any relief? I understand there are several private and government based claims and lawsuits looking into this exact situation but I have not heard anything regarding my loans.

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