DeVry Reaches Settlement with Department of Education Regarding Its Deceptive Advertising Practices
On October 13, 2016, the U.S. Department of Education announced a settlement with DeVry University regarding DeVry’s over thirty-year practice of claiming that “90 percent of its graduates were employed in their field within six months of graduation.” After an investigation, the Department of Education determined that DeVry could not provide evidence to substantiate this claim. DeVry also claimed that graduates from DeVry would earn more than those graduating with bachelor’s degrees from other colleges or universities. These earnings claims remain under investigation by both the Federal Trade Commission and the Department of Education.
DeVry, a for-profit educational institution, used this unsubstantiated graduation statistic in its advertising for over three decades, to mislead students when they advertised about how easy it is to get a job after graduation. Students frequently rely on job placement statistics when choosing their university, and a student who enrolled in DeVry for a typical four-year degree would end up spending over $70,000 in tuition alone. In reality, many DeVry graduates found that they had very little chance of getting a job after graduation.
In January 2016, the Federal Trade Commission filed a lawsuit against of DeVry University claiming DeVry’s advertisements deceived consumers about the likelihood that students would find jobs after getting a degree from DeVry. The deceptive ads also claimed students would earn more money than other students who graduated with degrees from other colleges or universities, which the Department of Education also found to be false.
“We are grateful to our federal partners at the Federal Trade Commission for their ongoing support in our investigation,” said U.S. Department of Education Chief Enforcement Officer Robert Kaye. “Together, we’ve put an end to the use of an unsubstantiated claim by this institution, and we will continue our efforts to ferret out similar unlawful practices.” As part of its settlement with the Department of Education, DeVry is required to post an irrevocable, five-year letter of credit of no less than $68,400,000 that the Department of Education may use to pay refunds owed to or on behalf of current or former students of Devry, to provide transitional costs, or to pay additional moneys owed to the Department of Education.
Misled by DeVry? Know Your Rights
If you were deceived by DeVry’s misleading advertising practices, you may be entitled to compensation. Texas, like many other states, has consumer protection laws in place that prohibit businesses like DeVry from conducting deceptive or unfair trade practices. Specifically, under the Texas Deceptive Trade Practices Act, no business may disseminate a statement it knows materially misrepresents the cost or character of a service, or anything it offers: 1) for the purpose of selling that service; or 2) to induce a person to contract with regard to that service.
If you would like to know more or discuss your specific case, our experienced attorneys at the Zinda Law Group stand ready to help you. We offer 100% free, no obligation consultations in person or over the phone. Call 800-863-5312 today for your case evaluation.