147,000 University of Phoenix (UOP) students are being sent money to make up for deceptive advertising practices. The checks being sent by the Federal Trade Commission total nearly $50 million. A lawsuit was settled in December, 2019 for $191 million with the for-profit institution alleging that UOP “falsely touted its relationships and job opportunities with companies such as AT&T, Yahoo!, Microsoft, Twitter, and the American Red Cross.” And it gets worse. UOP also falsely claimed that it created career-specific curriculum with several organizations for students. $141 million of the settlement are the student debts that UOP was forced to cancel.
Deceptive marketing and lack of degree programs with value are just two of the problems faced by students of for-profit institutions. But it does seem that holding these institutions accountable is finally taking a toll on their bottom lines. Argosy University closed its doors in 2019 (see https://nonprofitonlinedegrees.com/2019/03/12/the-fall-closing-of-for-profit-argosy-university-is-anyone-surprised/), and in September 2020, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) settled with ITT Technical Institute over its predatory lending practices. ITT has since closed its doors.
Prospective students must be careful to understand that the investors in these institutions care about one thing – maximizing profits.