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University of Phoenix to Pay $191 Million to Settle False Advertisement Charges

Tuesday, December 10, 2019
Whitney Barkley-Denney

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) announced today that the University of Phoenix, owned by Apollo Education Group, must pay $191 million to settle federal charges that it used false advertisement to lure its students with job placement promises at major U.S. corporations. The FTC said it was the largest settlement ever reached against a for-profit school.

Whitney Barkley-Denney, a senior policy counsel at the Center for Responsible Lending (CRL), released the following statement:

University of Phoenix used billions of taxpayer dollars to create an ad campaign based almost entirely on false claims, exaggerations, and outright lies. We are pleased to see that the University of Phoenix will finally be held accountable for their multi-billion-dollar advertising scam that targeted students of color and military members. We hope that today’s action will lay the groundwork for taxpayers and student loan borrowers who have been harmed to recover from the for-profit universities’ unlawful practices. In light of this order, we call on the Department of Education to fully discharge the loans of University of Phoenix borrowers who enrolled in the school under false pretenses.

While Education Secretary Betsy DeVos continues to make it easier for predatory education companies to recruit and rip off students, the FTC has proven that they have the backs of the borrowers and their families. Moving forward, we also encourage the Commission to put in place rules to completely ban false advertisements, accreditation misrepresentations, and other misrepresentations that would prevent student borrowers from getting hurt. Further, the Department of Education must immediately stop subsidizing predatory and failing for-profit institutions with tax payer money, and require real outcomes from these billion dollar businesses.


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