Claiming Deceptive Practices, Education Dept. and FTC Take Action Against For-Profit DeVry

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The Federal Trade Commission says the for-profit DeVry University deceived prospective students through exaggerated claims in its advertisements. The commission announced on Wednesday that it had filed suit against DeVry, seeking to have the company “provide redress to consumers” and to prohibit it from continuing to make deceptive claims…

The Federal Trade Commission says the for-profit DeVry University deceived prospective students through exaggerated claims in its advertisements. The commission announced on Wednesday that it had filed suit against DeVry, seeking to have the company “provide redress to consumers” and to prohibit it from continuing to make deceptive claims.

Among the company’s claims that the commission is calling deceptive:

  • Ninety percent of graduates who were seeking employment got jobs in their fields within six months of graduation.
  • DeVry graduates had 15-percent-higher incomes than graduates of other colleges one year after graduation.

According to the commission, DeVry fudged the numbers by, among other things, counting graduates as working “in their field” when they didn’t.

Meanwhile, the U.S. Department of Education said it would require the company to stop running certain advertisements about graduates’ employment outcomes, among other measures.

“As required by the law and expected by the public, institutions need to be accurate in their marketing and recruiting to prospective students,” said Ted Mitchell, under secretary of education, in the agencies’ news release.

In its own news release, DeVry said it “intends to vigorously contest” the FTC’s complaint. And it said it would “collaborate closely” with the Department of Education and request a hearing on the agency’s decision. It went on to say that the FTC’s allegations were “without a valid legal basis.”

“There is no national standard for calculating employment statistics among higher-education institutions, and the measures and standards used by DeVry University to support its statistics are appropriate,” the statement reads, in part.

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