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In Lawsuit, Students Claim College Deceived Them
NPR ^ | August 21, 2010 | Jeff Brady

Posted on 08/21/2010 6:39:19 AM PDT by inflorida

A for-profit college is facing a lawsuit filed on behalf of students who say the school ripped them off. It's the latest in a series of hits the for-profit higher education industry has taken recently.

Earlier this month, investigators showed members of Congress that some schools use high-pressure sales tactics and deceptive marketing to lure students.

Krystle Bernal, 25, says that was her experience at Denver-based Westwood College. Bernal is one of the lead plaintiffs in the class action suit.

In 2005, Bernal vowed to become the first in her family to get a bachelor's degree. She met with a representative of Westwood College who, she says, acted more like a salesperson than an adviser.

"I was really hesitant — she could tell — and she just told me, like, 'I don't think you want to better your life. I don't think you want to better your future. If you can't commit to this, you can't commit to school,' " recounts Bernal.

Bernal says she was told that with a fashion merchandising degree from Westwood, she'd pull down a $65,000 salary after graduation in three years. The cost of the degree was a bit of a shock — $75,000 — but Westwood helped Bernal get federal student loans.

Two years after graduating, the only work she can find is a $12 per hour, part-time job as a bank teller.

(Excerpt) Read more at npr.org ...


TOPICS: Culture/Society
KEYWORDS: highereducation; lawsuit

1 posted on 08/21/2010 6:39:20 AM PDT by inflorida
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To: inflorida

fashion merchandising? Is that degree for working at the gap or something equally stupid?


2 posted on 08/21/2010 6:44:58 AM PDT by utherdoul
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To: inflorida

Objective of this story? Put all education under federal control.


3 posted on 08/21/2010 6:46:13 AM PDT by Carl LaFong (Experts say experts should be ignored.)
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To: inflorida

I love it when they eat their own.
Reality meets Indoctrination Center. Time to close the Liberal Indoctrination Centers and make college degrees about obtaining useful, marketable skills. Libtard studies and hand holding are not useful degrees. Of course, like our high schools, if students were graded on their proficiency in English, Math, Geography, Economics and History; most of their teachers couldn’t qualify to teach.


4 posted on 08/21/2010 6:46:54 AM PDT by Steamburg (The contents of your wallet is the only language Politicians understand.)
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To: inflorida

Meanwhile, all the art history, womens’ studies, French literature, etc. majors who got degrees from traditional colleges have high-paying jobs and have no student loan debt whatsoever!


5 posted on 08/21/2010 6:47:37 AM PDT by Huntress (Who the hell are you to tell me what's in my best interests?)
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To: inflorida

The scent of the plaintiff’s lawyer is not a brilliant defense, is it.

As for the plaintiff, maybe if she’d studied logic in high school, she’d have been able to pick out the flaws in the recruiter’s arguments.

Should have trained as a bank teller immediately after hs graduation. She’d have been way ahead by now.


6 posted on 08/21/2010 6:49:00 AM PDT by 668 - Neighbor of the Beast
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To: inflorida

Well, I can personally attest to this practice being used by Scottsdale Culinary Institute. My former brother-in-law was promised all kinds of things by their representative, spent 35K (all loans), and then could only find jobs in the far back part of restaurant kitchens chopping vegetables along with a bunch of illegals. Extremely stupid on his part, but SCInstitute did make specific promises about all kinds of glamorous jobs.


7 posted on 08/21/2010 6:50:01 AM PDT by ChocChipCookie (TheSurvivalMom.com)
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To: inflorida

Caveat Emptor.


8 posted on 08/21/2010 6:53:38 AM PDT by pnh102 (Regarding liberalism, always attribute to malice what you think can be explained by stupidity. - Me)
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To: Huntress

I truly wish there would be class action suits against the non-profit universities as well.


9 posted on 08/21/2010 6:58:29 AM PDT by finnsheep
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To: Huntress

I truly wish there would be class action suits against the non-profit universities as well.


10 posted on 08/21/2010 6:58:34 AM PDT by finnsheep
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To: ChocChipCookie

What is the old adage: a sucker born every minute and two to take his money. All these for profit colleges are doing is building upon the business models of most other “higher education” programs. Most of these schools are just like their models except they have no endowments. They are simply the modern day equal of getting a degree from a school known as “close cover before striking match university.” Of course, with the advent of the federal government throwing money at the wall and hoping some of it sticks resembling a useful degree, what did anyone expect. Yeah they got scammed...so has the taxpayer. The education industry and its fellow travelers move on.


11 posted on 08/21/2010 6:58:52 AM PDT by Mouton
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To: pnh102

Common law fraud is more like it.


12 posted on 08/21/2010 7:00:35 AM PDT by SeaHawkFan
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To: inflorida

So she’s suing because she chose a degree with limited job prospects, and lots of competition from unskilled workers, which drives down both demand and salary? Interesting.


13 posted on 08/21/2010 7:01:13 AM PDT by Teacher317 (remember dismember November)
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To: inflorida
Two years after graduating, the only work she can find is a $12 per hour, part-time job as a bank teller.

The current state of the economy might have something to do with that.

14 posted on 08/21/2010 7:04:38 AM PDT by FoxInSocks (B. Hussein Obama: Central Planning Czar)
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To: inflorida

A bachelors degree in fashion merchandising sounds like it trains you to be a fashion nazi. That kind of degree right there should tell you its a scam.


15 posted on 08/21/2010 7:05:52 AM PDT by Jack Hydrazine (It's the end of the world as we know it and I feel fine!)
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To: inflorida
It's a shame she had to graduate from the school of hard knocks, but as someone posted above, caveat emptor.

A better plan would have been to attend a Community College (I see in Denver there's The Community College of Denver), earned an AA degree, then transferred to a 4-year college. I'd bet that by the time she completed her 2-year program, she would have had enough knowledge to make a better choice for completing her undergraduate program.

Places like Westwood College are better suited to people who have been in the work force for a while, and (hopefully) have more common sense than a recent high-school graduate.

16 posted on 08/21/2010 7:09:10 AM PDT by COBOL2Java (Obama is the least qualified guy in whatever room he walks into.)
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To: Carl LaFong
Objective of this story? Put all education under federal control.

Well, let's not go from one extreme to another. Let's dig a little deeper into this case.

After Googling for Westwood College, I found this:

Westwood College Investigated By Federal Gov't

So, it seems that Westwood so-called "College" was a diploma mill that charged up to $75,000 for an "online bachelor's degree" and that Westwood would help applicants commit fraud in order to obatain $75,000 of our tax dollars in Federal student loans.

Obviously, something is rotten in Denver.

17 posted on 08/21/2010 7:10:52 AM PDT by Polybius
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To: inflorida

Contrary to most that have posted on this subject I think the government has some responsibility in all this.

I do not know when it happened, but these type of loans can not be discharged in bankruptcy.

So the government gave these lenders a gift. They can loan money with NO fear of not being paid back.

So if the government gurantees one side of the contract, perhaps the government should gurantee the other side as well.

My proposal the school must put in writing before the loan what the student can expect after graduation. If after graduating the student can not find the job at the salary level promised, the loan is null and void.

Any time you get the government involved in private dealings unintended consequences happen.

I would prefer the government did NOT gurantee student loans, and I would prefer any such loans be handled as is any other debt.


18 posted on 08/21/2010 7:11:48 AM PDT by CIB-173RDABN
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To: inflorida

It goes deeper than this - for years, we’ve been scammed by the myth that ‘a college degree is essential for every worker’, promulgated by the Higher ‘Education’ industry, and abetted by HR Managers that ‘require’ a college degree for every position above Floor Sweeper...


19 posted on 08/21/2010 7:11:56 AM PDT by Uncle Ike (Rope is cheap, and there are lots of trees...)
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To: inflorida

Most of these fraud schools wouldn’t exist if it weren’t federal student loans.


20 posted on 08/21/2010 7:12:00 AM PDT by Moonman62 (Politicians exist to break windows so they may spend other people's money to fix them.)
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To: COBOL2Java

I’m hoping she goes for a doctorate in underwater basket weaving. That will really boost her job prospects!


21 posted on 08/21/2010 7:13:20 AM PDT by Jack Hydrazine (It's the end of the world as we know it and I feel fine!)
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To: 668 - Neighbor of the Beast

There are so many kids that simply should not be in college; however, do not know what else to do. We need to recreate an appreticeship path for many high school students. (But not controlled by unions.)


22 posted on 08/21/2010 7:13:46 AM PDT by super7man
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To: 668 - Neighbor of the Beast

Will buyer beware come into play. or is that over too.


23 posted on 08/21/2010 7:15:29 AM PDT by Marty62 (marty60)
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To: Jack Hydrazine

This little play is being performed right here in my family. My step daughter who decided she did not need to waste her time in high school because she could drop out and then get an equilivancy degree. She then decided she needed a culinary degree of some kind and enrolled in the local community college but their hours of operation did not coincide with her schedule...seems they had 9AM classes. So she dropped out of that. She then convinced my wife to withdraw her pre paid college tuition program, that which remained after the cullinary disaster, so she could enroll in a new program for “dog handler” at some private “school.” Frankly, I never knew one needed a two years to learn how to pick up dog crap. Anyway, she is now completed with the at home portion of the program (right, on line which is a further scam) and cannot decide whether she wants to do the “hands on” part of the program. It is easy to say all the schooling after leaving high school was fraudulently pushed on her, however, both she and her mom were complicit dupes. Were I on any of these juries, no award, next case.


24 posted on 08/21/2010 7:17:09 AM PDT by Mouton
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To: CIB-173RDABN
I would prefer the government did NOT gurantee student loans, and I would prefer any such loans be handled as is any other debt.

The problem of course is that before student loans were not dischargable through bankruptcy, people would get a free education and then welch on the debt using bankruptcy.

From what I know, people who welch on their student loans now can only quit the country if they want to escape their debts. Their tax refunds are routinely yanked if they are delinquent.

25 posted on 08/21/2010 7:17:42 AM PDT by pnh102 (Regarding liberalism, always attribute to malice what you think can be explained by stupidity. - Me)
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To: pnh102
There needs to be a better balance.

With guarantee repayment, the loaning authority does not need to worry so much about A) the school, and B) the ability of the student to repay the loan.

While it is true that some would take advantage of the situation, it is also true we are now creating indenture servants.

My question would be, is a contract valid if one party deceives the other? I guess the courts are going to have to decide.

Second, if you are so concerned about “deadbeats” then do away with bankruptcy and open up debtor prisons again. That should make you happy.

26 posted on 08/21/2010 7:22:42 AM PDT by CIB-173RDABN
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To: utherdoul
fashion merchandising? Is that degree for working at the gap or something equally stupid?

If it's your cup of tea, merchandising is a pretty good career, but it's a cut-throat industry. The article doesn't say, but if she assumed she could make a good living as a fashion merchandising expert in Denver, she's sorely mistaken; you'd have to be willing to relocate to a place like New York City.

27 posted on 08/21/2010 7:25:00 AM PDT by COBOL2Java (Obama is the least qualified guy in whatever room he walks into.)
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To: Mouton

I bet she is still living at home. Correct?

I’m sure you wait with baited breath to hear the blame game start when your daughter realizes she has been conned.

What do you think her next move will be after blaming everyone except herself?


28 posted on 08/21/2010 7:27:05 AM PDT by Jack Hydrazine (It's the end of the world as we know it and I feel fine!)
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To: Jack Hydrazine
What do you think her next move will be after blaming everyone except herself?

A job in the Obama administration?

29 posted on 08/21/2010 7:29:26 AM PDT by COBOL2Java (Obama is the least qualified guy in whatever room he walks into.)
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To: CIB-173RDABN

I agree with your general idea but the problem is that this situation is no different than any other in which someone who buys something chooses to not make an informed decision about said purchase beforehand, with borrowed money.


30 posted on 08/21/2010 7:33:00 AM PDT by pnh102 (Regarding liberalism, always attribute to malice what you think can be explained by stupidity. - Me)
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To: Polybius
In a related story from July 27,10.
Click on the following link: Class Action Request Against Westwood Denied
31 posted on 08/21/2010 7:33:15 AM PDT by Las Vegas Dave (To anger a Conservative, tell him a lie. To anger a Liberal, tell him the truth.)
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To: inflorida

I see the problem she is white “No degree for you” as you are not one of the exclusive get a free pass class.


32 posted on 08/21/2010 7:36:39 AM PDT by Cheetahcat (Zero the Wright kind of Racist! We are in a state of War with Democrats)
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To: utherdoul

Hey that is my wife’s major.

Other than for kicking around in a lousy JCPenneys sales job for a few years, she has never used the degree. We got married when she was a Junior, and I begged her to get teaching certification. She didn’t. I still wish that she had. Even a substitute teaching job would help alot. She already volunteers at the middle school when they do clothing. She could just as easily get paid.


33 posted on 08/21/2010 7:43:13 AM PDT by exhaustguy
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To: finnsheep
re: I truly wish there would be class action suits against the non-profit universities as well.)))

And, WHY NOT? Is Government Motors exempt from negligence lawsuits because its owned by us?

Half of all the public universities should just be shut down and their campuses turned into nursing homes.

TAX TENURE. Seriously, it's an asset that the slacker monasteries own. Tax the asset of a guaranteed job, or do away with tenure entirely. It's ridiculous that any public institution should guarantee anyone a job.

34 posted on 08/21/2010 7:49:48 AM PDT by Mamzelle (Cameras, cameras--never forget to bring your cameras)
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To: inflorida

Sounds like she had insufficient advisement. Her family couldn’t give her experiential input; her friends are probably in a similar situation. I recently met a 38yo who was sorely misinformed about the job market.
They need mentoring badly.
Grandson #1 frequently asks us for input re: education, majors, purchasing decisions, reading recommendations, etc. We’re usually at a loss if he asks for specifics re: job market.


35 posted on 08/21/2010 8:02:04 AM PDT by Silentgypsy (Employing freedom of speech/expression in order to condemn freedom of speech/expression¬ógo figure..)
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To: exhaustguy

Most school districts allow sub teacher that have a degree - any degree, maybe she could look into that.

Teaching sux right now. Locally TUSD (Tucson) just cut sub pay from $125/day to $75/day. You do have to prove you can speak English though - for now.


36 posted on 08/21/2010 8:03:58 AM PDT by ASOC (That is not sweat - I am melting...)
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To: Las Vegas Dave
In a related story from July 27,10. Click on the following link: Class Action Request Against Westwood Denied

It seems that the bottom-feeding diploma mill scammers are now bringing out the bottom-feeding lawyers seeking to line their own pockets with the huge legal fees that a class action would mean.

From your link:

The arbitrator's ruling relied on a U.S. Supreme Court decision. "Let's be clear. This was an attempt by a class action firm to reap large fees through class arbitration," Westwood attorney Peter Homer said.

The bottom line is that our tax dollars were, once again, scammed.

Forget the private attornies seeking huge legal fees. Have public prosecutors prove their case of fraud. Get a conviction. Get a long prison sentence. End of story.

37 posted on 08/21/2010 8:11:04 AM PDT by Polybius
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To: inflorida

Sue them for teaching garbage like “queer studies” “women’s studies” “White racism” and other nonsense that doesn’t help anyone get a job.


38 posted on 08/21/2010 8:13:59 AM PDT by Leftism is Mentally Deranged (Annoying liberals is my goal. I will not be silenced.)
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To: inflorida
...but Westwood helped Bernal get federal student loans.

That's the problem right there. If the government didn't support these scams they wouldn't be around. Stupid people seeking useless degrees would be on their own.

39 posted on 08/21/2010 8:18:33 AM PDT by FreePaul
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To: Uncle Ike

I agree with you (and I’m a professor). The plaintiff would have been better served by working in a store, maybe becoming assistant manager (not difficult if you show up everyday and show some interest). I have relatives in retail management. Even in this economy, people can be promoted up to assistant.

Also, some community colleges offer fashion merchandising or retail management degrees. She would have more use from a cheap 2 yr degree than that useless $75,000 piece of paper she paid for. Also, if she ever wanted to go to a regular college or grad school, few if any of her credits will be accepted. She might have to start all over.


40 posted on 08/21/2010 8:18:45 AM PDT by radiohead (Buy ammo, get your kids out of government schools, pray for the Republic.)
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To: Huntress

“Meanwhile, all the art history, womens’ studies, French literature, etc. majors who got degrees from traditional colleges have high-paying jobs and have no student loan debt whatsoever!”

Because they all got into Law School.


41 posted on 08/21/2010 8:28:06 AM PDT by EQAndyBuzz (Remember March 23, 1775. Remember March 23, 2010)
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To: inflorida

Private colleges are NOT the problem.

When I was just about to graduate from a state four year school, one of my peers went on a rant about how he was completely unemployable.

While in class.

I received my degree in English rhetoric. He got his in literature. That distinction is irrelevant. We were both English majors at a state school.

I am employed. I’d bet a lot of money that the idiot I mentioned above is not.

At this point, a diploma is a blip on a resume. A student must know HOW TO BE EMPLOYABLE. The degree, in other words, means squat. Learn how to write a damned resume. Make yourself employable. You have the degree, but are you accountable and competent?

Many are not.

APf


42 posted on 08/21/2010 9:19:52 AM PDT by APFel (Regnum Nostrum Crescit)
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To: FreePaul
Something I learned while renting one of my units. Sec 8 will pay 100% of the rent as long as the tenant is in school or college, then they can also work and make as much as they want.

So: apply for the grant, get on Sec 8 housing, food stamps, free phone, get a job as well, life is good. Great to be in America will all the benefits one wants.

Of course, they never have to pay the grant loan back, and they never use the degree, (if they ever get one), mostly in cosmetology, lol.

43 posted on 08/21/2010 10:03:33 AM PDT by annieokie
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