Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen Announces Complaint Against Corinthian Colleges, Inc. for Using Aggressive, Deceptive Marketing Tactics to Enroll Students in Everest College, Milwaukee

Oct 27 2014
Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen Announces Complaint Against Corinthian Colleges, Inc. for Using Aggressive, Deceptive Marketing Tactics to Enroll Students in Everest College, Milwaukee

 

MADISON — Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen filed suit in Milwaukee County against Corinthian Colleges, Inc., alleging violations of Wisconsin’s consumer protection laws for engaging in unfair, false, misleading, and deceptive trade practices.  According to the complaint, a lengthy investigation revealed that Corinthian lured Milwaukee consumers to enroll at its post-secondary school, Everest College, Milwaukee, using false and deceptive representations about critical facts such as the school’s job placement rates for its graduates and the availability of externships the school offered. 

 

The complaint alleges that Corinthian fraudulently inflated its graduation rates by including in its placement numbers unemployed graduates and graduates employed outside of their field of study.  The complaint further alleges that Corinthian’s recruiters represented to prospective students a 80-90% national job placement, when in fact its job placement rates were far lower, dipping as low as 5% at the Milwaukee campus.  The complaint also alleges that the school often lacked the externships it promised to its students as a fundamental part of their training. And for those students who did obtain externships, the externships were often in unskilled positions, performing tasks that were unrelated to the student’s course of study.  The complaint also alleges that Corinthian recruited new students regardless of their qualifications, including many who were unlikely to complete or benefit from Corinthian’s accelerated allied health programs.  For example, Corinthian’s admission representatives enrolled students who struggled with basic reading comprehension into accelerated allied health programs, which required quick mastery of complex medical terms. The school allegedly also enrolled students in health career programs, even though such students would be virtually unemployable due to their criminal backgrounds. 

 

The complaint also alleges that Corinthian’s recruitment tactics created a false sense of urgency to pressure prospective students to enroll immediately. Corinthian sent mailings to prospective students stating they had “priority status” and that it was “Urgent” that they “call in the next seven days.”  There was no urgency or priority. In fact, any prospective student who walked in the door at Everest College Milwaukee would be eligible for enrollment within the next month, provided they had a high school diploma or a General Education Diploma (GED).  Corinthian’s misrepresentations induced many Milwaukee-area students to spend (or most commonly borrow) up to $20,000 for a course of study. 

 

“Our office will prosecute post-secondary schools that use deceptive recruiting tactics to increase enrollments, leaving vulnerable, unemployed graduates with excessive federal student loan debt, underwritten by the taxpayer,” Attorney General Van Hollen said.

 

The Milwaukee school closed its doors in August of 2013 and the school provided some refunds to students who did not graduate.  The complaint seeks restitution to affected students and graduates, as well as forfeitures and fees. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant Attorney General Lara Sutherlin at the Wisconsin Department of Justice.  The Wisconsin Educational Approval Board was instrumental in the investigation of this matter.

 

Copies of the Summons and Complaint are available at the links below:

Complaint

Summons