The Federal Trade Commission filed a lawsuit against DeVry University last week, saying it falsified claims about future job prospects.
Though DeVry claimed that 90% of its graduates found work in their chosen field within six months of graduation, the FTC says this isn’t completely true. The FTC actually discovered people who were working at restaurants as servers or working retail sales, instead of working in the field they intended after graduating from DeVry.
The U.S. Department of Education has been cracking down on for-profit colleges recently, due to deceptive advertising and predatory sales practices.
FTC Chairwoman Edith Ramirez said, ‘Educational institutions like DeVry owe prospective students the truth about their graduates’ success finding employment in their field of study and the income they can earn.’
A letter to the school posted on the Education Department’s website said that the school would need to provide proof that assertions made about its post-graduation job prospects were true in order to continue to receive federal student aid.
DeVry to “vigorously contest” the complaint
In response to the lawsuit, DeVry said that it would request a hearing to discuss the action and it would ‘vigorously contest’ the FTC’s allegations, calling them ‘exaggerated’ and unprovable.
‘DeVry Group believes that the FTC’s complaint—filed 40 years after DeVry University began publishing accurate graduate employment statistics—is without a valid legal basis,’ said the company in a statement. DeVry University has campuses in 25 states.
The FTC is asking the school to reimburse students in California and to be honest about its promises to prospective students.
Be wary of college recruiters who make big promises
So what does this mean for you?
There’s been an ongoing problem with adult education centers that charge high tuition rates and deliver empty promises. So what are potential students supposed to do if they’re simply looking for an education that will help them meet their career goals?
One thing you shouldn’t do: Take public college recruiters at their word. Be very careful about the promises made by a recruiter that is not associated with a trade school or state school that;s part of the state school system.
Read more: 11 best ways to find a college scholarship
How to find a school that will adequately prepare you
If you know the type of industry you want to work in, or if you want to work at a specific company, the best thing to do is to call that company or a company in that industry and ask this question: ‘Where do you find your best people that are most prepared to work for you?’
If it’s a larger company you’re calling, you might be directed to the H.R. department. But, calling a company directly is a great way to find out how to get the education you’ll need for your chosen field.
In addition, you might discover that the company you are calling has an apprenticeship program, a partnership with a specific school or some sort of funnel where they find new applicants.
The bottom line?
This lawsuit is just one example of the government cracking down on public colleges in order to make sure these institutions deliver on their promises to prepare students for real jobs in the real world — and aren’t just out to make money and prey on vulnerable individuals.
Do not ever trust the claims of a recruiter for a school that has high tuition rates and wants to get you to sign your name on the dotted line of a new student loan. That can end in a big trail of tears.