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Georgia-based Ashworth College, a for-profit school with more than 50,000 students enrolled, has agreed to settle charges that it misled students about career training and credit transfers.
The Federal Trade Commission charges that several programs offered at Ashworth don’t even meet the basic educational requirements set by state licensing boards, including those for real-estate appraisers, home inspectors, elementary school educators and massage practitioners, despite the school’s claims that students get the training and credentials required to switch careers or get a new job.
“When schools promise students they can transfer course credits or get a better job after completing their programs, they’d better be able to back up those claims,” Jessica Rich, director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection, said in a statement. “Ashworth College didn’t tell the truth when it made those promises to prospective students.”
Georgia-based Ashworth College, also allegedly claimed that its credits would transfer to other schools, “even though it lacked supporting data that other colleges and universities would accept their credits,” the FTC said.
Tuition at the for-profit college varies from several hundred to several thousand dollars. Ashworth does not accept student loans, so students are forced to pay out of pocket. But the college does accept GI Bill payments and makes a concerted effort to attract military service members and their families.
Ashworth agreed to a suspended penalty of $11 million and will revamp its recruitment practices and the promises it makes to prospective students.
If you’re interested in attending college, check out the FTC’s “Choosing a College: Questions to Ask.”
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