DeVry University, a for-profit school that offers courses online and in dozens of places across the country, accepted a $ 100 million settlement from a federal lawsuit alleging it had falsely advertised the success of its graduates, the Federal Trade Commission said Thursday.
Under the settlement, DeVry and its parent company, DeVry Education Group, agreed to approximately $ 51 million in debt relief and an additional $ 49 million in cash to be paid to students aggrieved by the ads. Tens of thousands of students expected to benefit from deal, FTC says
“When people make important decisions about their education and their future, they should not be misled by misleading statements about employment and income,” said commission chair Edith Ramirez, said in a press release.
Under the terms of the deal, DeVry neither admitted nor denied the allegations, although he dismissed them in a previous case.
The settlement stems from a lawsuit in January alleging DeVry falsely claimed that 90 percent of students looking for jobs in their field of study found them within six months of graduating. The trade commission also accused the school of falsely stating that graduates with a bachelor’s degree from DeVry earned on average 15% more than those who attended other colleges and universities.
Debt relief includes approximately $ 30 million to cover the balance owed on all private student loans DeVry has provided to undergraduates over a seven-year period, from September 2008 to September 2015. It also includes approximately $ 20 million to write off debt related to tuition, books and lab fees.
Refunds, which the FTC plans to start sending next year, and debt relief will be automatically processed.
The commission said it would identify students eligible for refunds and the school would notify them. DeVry will notify credit bureaus and collection agencies of the debt relief.
The regulations also include provisions to prevent the school from misleading consumers in the future.