North Carolina Attorney General Josh Stein announced a $493.7 million multi-state settlement with for-profit education company Career Education Corp. (CEC). In a settlement with 49 states, including North Carolina, CEC has agreed to reform its recruiting and enrollment practices and forgo collection debts 179,529 students owe nationally. In North Carolina, 4,738 students will receive approximately $9,235,669 in debt relief.
CEC will forgo the collection of debts owed to it by students who either attended a CEC institution that closed before Jan. 1, 2019, or whose final day of attendance at American InterContinental University and Colorado Technical University occurred on or before Dec. 31, 2013. CEC has also agreed to pay $5 million to the states.
“Students who borrow for higher education are investing in their future,” said Attorney General Josh Stein. “I will not allow for-profit schools to prey on those hopes and dreams. This settlement gives North Carolina students who attended a CEC school the debt relief they need for a second chance to get a valuable education.”
The settlement caps a five-year investigation into CEC that revealed evidence demonstrating that CEC deceived prospective students about the total costs of enrollment, the transferability of credits between CEC and other institutions, the potential to obtain employment in their field, and CEC graduates’ employment outcomes.
As a result of these unfair and deceptive practices, students enrolled in CEC who would not have otherwise enrolled, could not obtain professional licensure, and were saddled with substantial debts that they could not repay nor discharge. CEC denied the allegations of the attorneys general investigation but agreed to resolve the claims through this multistate settlement.
Under the agreement, CEC must make no misrepresentations concerning accreditation, selectivity, graduation rates, placement rates, transferability of credit, financial aid, veterans’ benefits, or licensure requirements. The agreement also includes additional requirements that CEC must follow to prevent abusive recruiting practices and provide disclosure to students about anticipated costs, debt burden, and post-graduation employment rates and expected incomes.
Former students with debt relief eligibility questions can contact CEC.
Attorney General Josh Stein is joined in today’s settlement by the Attorneys General of Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin and Wyoming, and the District of Columbia.
A copy of the settlement can be found here.