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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

Comments

Yes! If your debt is cancelled, the University will contact you. No one can get the letter for you, even if you pay them.

Thank you for alerting people about the ad you saw - it sounds like a scam.

The University is cancelling debts that people owe directly to the school. Generally, when businesses need to reach people, they use their own records or use the Postal Service Mail Forwarding service to locate them.

That is a scam do not go for that. They will take your money and run.

What if you owe the money to a student loan company?

I attended University of Phoenix from 2005 to 2013 graduation. I feel duped. Do I qualify for a refund? If so how do I go about inquiring?

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 between October 1, 2012 and December 31, 2016.

The University is not giving refunds. It is cancelling debts that people owe to the University, if those people enrolled for the first time between October 1, 2012 and December 31, 2016.

I enrolled in the beginning of 2016 and withdrew from UOPX in 2018. I did owe the school directly $948.00 and paid it off before withdrawing. Do I qualify? And if so, will I be refunded what I paid the school directly?

I went to umiversity of.Phoenix and it rwaulted in iver 110k in student loan debt. My masters.degree disnt eeww ben cost that and ai had a pell grant when attending phoenix. Can I get refunded?

The University is not giving refunds. Under this settlement with the FTC, it is cancelling debts that people owe to the University, if those people enrolled for the first time between October 1, 2012 and December 31, 2016.

What if we attended before 2012 and the same deceptive practices were used and I would like to know if my loans are going to be discharged or any refunds to military students who still do this day have not found a job?

The University is not giving refunds. Under this settlement with the FTC, it is cancelling debts that people owe to the University, if those people enrolled for the first time between October 1, 2012 and December 31, 2016.

The population they targeted are more likely to apply for federal loans, this settlement is specific to those who owe the school directly. That makes no sense! As if those who applied through federal loans were not affected by the false advertisement.

I started classes with the University of Phoenix in February of 2014 and graduated this year. All of my funding for school came from federal student loans; thus, I don't have debt with the school "directly." So, does this mean that I will not have my loans forgiven because I don't owe the school but rather I owe the lender for paying the school? Any clarification would be greatly appreciated.

So, this settlement doesn’t include so many students, who borrowed money under federal student loan program withIn the time frame of University’s deceptive practice?
What can of justice is this? This is same school and Why Federal Loan will not be forgiven and reimbursed?

I went to university of pheonix and had debt. It also went to collections soo i paid it off. Will i get a refund as well?

The University is not giving refunds. Under this settlement with the FTC, it is cancelling debts that people owe to the University, if those people enrolled for the first time between October 1, 2012 and December 31, 2016.

I was definitely one of many that was made to believe that a education with phoenix university would provide opportunities for employment with some very successful organization. 2degrees and 150k in student debts it never happened. None of the fore mentioned organizations even recognized my degree. How do I become a recipient of this debt relief? I was a active student during this time.

I enrolled durin 2016 and I am just about to finish. If my school debt is forgiven would it be for my entire time with the university or just the 2016 perios?

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 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.

The settlement between the FTC and the University of Phoenix does not affect students' private loans or federal government loans.

That is a lie.. People took out loans to pay for their schooling for here. The school is the one that set up our loans for most of us. they need to cancel that debt.. that is what is right.

They should have to pay Nelnet for these BS loans ! They took me to the bank with lies and told me I’d lose my loans from the dept of education if I took time off while my father was in ICU dying and then changes the entire way to upload and do your online school and I was just too stressed to try and relearn! I told them immediately and instead of refunding me and dropping my classes , they high pressured me with lies and deceit knowing how this hardship with my father was affecting me! They are frauds and “ we” are paying student loans back ? They should have to pay Nelnet back this is totally BS!!!!!!

I attended for one year roughly around 2009-2010 . I was told I would be getting help to apply for free grants and guaranteed a job when I graduated. I dropped out when I started to realize non of this was true, the courses were not even college type material and I ended up with $5,000 in student loans that seem to never go down. When I try to contact anyone about transcripts or any documents there is never an answer or good telephone number or no response to emails. It’s so frustrating! I was just trying to do something to get a better job and education and all it has done is been another burden.

I went to that school and got stuck with loans one credit left and they wouldn't let me finish I was there that year do I get debt cancelled I had to do that lower my payments because I'm on disability please Lord tell me I won't die owing these people.

This settlement is unfair money is money what difference does it make where it comes from. We all have the same story. I will be finding out what can be done. My outcome is the exact same as others a outragious student loan and no job.

This isn't fair! Their deceptive advertising started as early as 2008! I was drawn in by it naively since I just moved from Africa to the U.S. The loan system and prospects were so confusing to me. This isn't fair at all. Why are the rest of us still being punished by making us continue to pay these debts?! Go back to 2008 and see how far their false advertising goes, not just 2012!

I enrolled in Uni. Phoenix in 7/2014 and one of the main reason was because of their "connections" and job assistance. I graduated in 2017. I am currently in debt beyond words and I also never recieved a grant that was supposed to be sent directly to me because of a hiccup!! I need to know how do I go about requesting a full refund on a degree that I will because of their NOW rep and misleading connections with organizations that they even made so believable by offering the entire MICROSOFT OFFICE SUITE free of charge!! BUT I may not ever be able to use!! As a consumer I am baffled!!!

The University is not offering refunds on degrees as part of the settlement with the FTC.

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 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.

You mention several times in the comment threads to go to the websites for repayment/Consolidation, but the issue I have is that if you took loans out to pay the school you get nothing (Except for the $50 million the FTC gets to decide who gets it)... Unless those sites you provided have a way to have these loans cancelled/Forgiven because of the false practices by UOP, then those site do not help those that actually are stuck with loans that resulted in the same issue that those that still owed the school... Would there have to be another complaint filed for those that have student loans that have to be paid for the same reason as those that didn't get loans and owe UOP directly?

FTC, Thank you so much for your hard work in this settlement. I was a victim of this and recieved my email from the University of Phoenix on Dec 11th of this and that my debt I owed them has been cancelled and I can now get my official transcripts. This is the best Christmas gift I could ask for and now I can transfer my credits somewhere else and complete my bachelors degree!

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.

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.

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