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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

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I attended UOPX during the time period outlined. In article it states that "certain former students"... What stipulates which students will be eligible?

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.

But here is the issue with that answer, I did some research on this and it clearly states that UOP does not hold any loans for student debt they also do not favor one loan source over another. So this entire statement seems as though it is a smokescreen for UOP and those who helped initiate the suit. I too was in this time frame I was forced to take out loans with fed gov in order to go to UOP. So if what your statement says on this about "owing to the school" no one will get anything back. YOU never owe the school you owe the loans that paid the school for books, tuition, and fees. That being said this makes zero sense to anyone trying to figure this out. I am 70-k in debt being misled on classes I should have taken to take the career path I wanted to take, now I am still in the same job I was in 12 years ago and my 2 degrees are basically toilet paper after this sham. I will be 60 this April now I have a ton of debt and absolutely no way to take care of it. With two degrees that did not further my career and no have actually hindered it.

What if you received federal student aid, specifically the Grad Plus Loan and Unsubsidized Stafford loans to pay tuition to UoPX in that time frame? Will those be removed from my Nelnet account, along with interest accrued?

The settlement between the University of Phoenix and the FTC does not affect your private or federal student loans.

Under the settlement between the FTC and the University of Phoenix, the University will cancel $141 million in debt that people who first enrolled between October 1, 2012 and December 31, 2016 owe directly to the school.

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.

What about our grant money they ended up using ????

Is it possible that original debts were owed to the school and then transferred when student loan laws changed? If so how can I determine if my loans were originally with the school?

UoP only accepted cash or direct loan payment to the school to attend classes. You have to pay to attend and pay to get online books, no paper back option. You literally couldn't attend school or graduate without it paid upfront thru loan.

I went to university of Phoenix for 4 years and have not found a job yet. I have at least 60,000 in student loans. I got my associates and bachelors an still cannot find a job.

Same here got a masters and it isn’t worth the paper it’s printed on!

Unfortunately these practices were happening prior to 2012. I attended The University of Phoenix 2009-2011 with those same promises! Graduated with over $95,000 in student loan debt and could not find a decent paying job to payback the loans! What about those of us who were affected prior to 2012 with the same promises and practices!

I graduated in May 2012, single parent in my 50's. I always believed UOP was keeping a large part of my financial aid payments. I also was made to believe once I graduated I would secure a well paying job. Here I am at 58 earning $16 an hour as an office employee. A job I would have been able to secure without a BS that has costed me $55,000. I believe this settlement should include students that were enrolled prior to October 2012. I know many students who graduated that are not working or earning very little. Loans should be forgiven for all low-wage earners, senior citizens, disabled individuals, unemployed or single parents who graduated from any college or university.

I agree I attended before 2012 ended with 30k in loans didn’t even finish because they capped me with federal loans, pull grants, and they slammed me with another direct loan. I couldn’t keep up with it any longer and quit. Too much money, if I knew then what I know now!!!

I agree those same practices were happening much earlier than 2012. the same was happening in 2005-2008.

We were most likely in the same class! This is a ridiculous settlement as most of us had to get private/government loans. This settlement doesn't sit well with me. No. No. No!

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.

Same here! I was finally lucky enough to find a job, but UOP is a laughable degree and yet I owe over 50K

I’m in your shoes also I have 50k in debt and no job for what I went to school for. Now I am working 75 to 85 hrs a week to get by. People talk down to me and I’m tired of it.

I know the feeling pretty sad right

I'm in the same situation. Over $60,000 in student loan debt for a worthless bachelor's from University of Phoenix. The debt should be cancelled for all that attended regardless of the time period, UoP is a fraud.

Same here. Completed two degrees and failed to find a job related to my degree. I also went from owing about $50-60k for the entire duration there to nearly $80k with no explanation as to how or why so much.

Most of us will not get a refund, as we took out student loans and didn't pay out of pocket. From what I understand from reading only those that paid out of pocket will be refunded... Meanwhile those of us that rely on loan and are now in huge debt will continue to remain in debt and still unable to pay anywhere near what they think we should be making.

61,000 here and still climbing, Bachelors in Information Technology Software engineering and no place will hire me without a minumum 3-5 year experience in coding and development. a 3-6 month course doesnt cover that much experience.

How will we know if we are on the refund list.

The FTC will publish details about its refund process on www.consumer.ftc.gov when it's ready. You don't have to do anything now to apply for a refund.

We were all told we would be guaranteed a 6-figure salary by every instructor with any one of these great companies in Silicon Valley. I never landed any secure job as promised and still owe to UOP.

So because I used government loans I’m not eligible? I was still exposed to the practices

This makes me so angry, it's so unfair that those of us that owe more than 60K or more in federal loans still have to pay back for the wrong doings of the school.

What about those of us former students who have since paid off our loans but may have been subject to this?

Yes, I'd like to know the answer to your question as I am in the same predicament. I paid it off last month! WOW, I hope that I am included in this settlement.

What are the dates for the advertising, as i have been trying for 2 years to get these loans discharged, because of this practice?

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.

Please explain (directly to the School) Does this mean the loans from the School or the Apollo Group? I understand the federal and other private loans will not be paid. Need more clarification.

Some students who enrolled for the first time between October 1, 2012 and December 31, 2016 owe money directly to the University for fees and other charges. The University will cancel $141 million that students owe the University.

Under the settlement, 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.

How am I even suppose to live. I am ashamed of my degree that I’m literaly supposed to get. I seriously have two classes left and now I’m going to be looked at like the guy who went to Phoenix and not for the work ethic I’ve put in.... Wow this settlement doesn’t even touch what I’m going through. I can’t even get anyone to respect that I went to Phoenix after this whole debacle. I need help discharging my federal loans that I was hustled into. Not to mention that I am a spouse or military and were sold a dream job.

There's information about repaying student loans at www.StudentLoans.gov. That's from the Federal Student Aid Office of the US Department of Education.

Are there opportunities for the studentloan debt to be forgiven for those who qualify? Those who furnish sustainable proof? Its almost impossible to owe the school directly given the cost of tuition exceeds most brick & mortar institutions, almost every student would have had to take out a student loan. This suit would then only apply to those who did not graduate, or those whose unpaid school debt went to a 3rd party creditor. Either way it is therefore bias and only subject to further suit. Please help me understand?

They should go back further. I was promised employment assistance in 2011 when I started, and once I graduated, there was no help at all.

I'm a graduate and wondering if I'm a part of this setelment

I am current student at the university of Phoenix, do you should I transfer out and also would I get any money back?

How well we receive a refund for this since I’ve moved since I went to university of phoenix

The University is not giving refunds.

Under this settlement with the FTC, it is cancelling debts that people owe directly to the University, if the people enrolled for the first time between October 1, 2012 and December 31, 2016. Generally, if a business needs to find you, they will use their own records or the Postal Service Mail Forwarding records to find your current address.

I received both my Bachelor's and MBA from UoP. I still to this day have never received a job offer despite the qualifications I have. After leaving the military in 2009 I needed school. By 2015 (Master's graduation) I was hopeful for a job. Oh well. FTC, I was required to pay the school back on debts that went on my credit report. Is that covered too?

Thank goodness. Many people have gone into debt with nothing to show for it. Thank you FTC!!

I’m currently enrolled in my last class. Have been attending for 5 years. How do I know if I will be refunded? So the school is shutting down for good?

The University is not giving refunds.

Under this settlement with the FTC, it is cancelling debts that people owe directly to the University, if the people enrolled for the first time between October 1, 2012 and December 31, 2016.

I got my MBA there, biggest waste of time and $$$. I have a loan payment enough for a luxury car for the next 21 years. The whole school needs to be wiped out along with all debt.

And that's how they got me to apply and attend, how far are they going back

I attended the University of Phoenix for both under and grand school. How do I contact someone about my loans and the tuition I paid out of my pocket?

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 used my post 9-11 benefits for UOP how is that refunded?

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