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University of Phoenix Pushes Back Against FTC Investigative Demand

By on January 14, 2016

Court documents filed today certainly leave the impression University of Phoenix is dragging their feet in complying with a Federal Trade Commission investigation.

In July of 2015 the FTC issued Civil investigative Demand requests to the University of Phoenix, requiring them to “produce material relevant to the Commission’s investigation, including information and documents relating to complaints, marketing and recruiting, student advisement, call recordings, and billing and debt collection.”

The University of Phoenix says that to comply with the investigative demands would be “impractical and complex given the nature of the responsive material, the number of current and former students, and the difficulty in locating students or their families.”

While I applaud their concern, it feels like a stall tactic at this point considering the FTC investigation alleges the University and parent company, Apollo Education Group “have engaged or are engaged in deceptive or unfair acts or practices in or affecting commerce in the advertising, marketing, or sale of secondary or postsecondary educational products or services, or educational accreditation products or services, in violation of Section 5 of the Federal Trade Commission Act.”

One issue might be the hesitation of the University to cough up the specific requested information which asks for “call recordings, student complaints, and materials related to the Companies’ investigation and resolution of those complaints.”

The FTC claims there is no reason for the delay in producing the documents, “where an educational institution receives a subpoena issued for a law enforcement purpose that calls for education records, the institution may produce these records without seeking written consent – and also without notification to those whose education records are being produced – so long as a court or the issuing agency has issued an order, upon good cause shown, directing nondisclosure.” – Source, Source

It looks like this mess just went public and is going to get interesting.

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