For-profit college forced to pay $95 million settlement

In what is perhaps the largest monetary settlement in higher education, Education Management Corporation (EMC) has agreed to a $95.5 million settlement with the United States Justice Department. You probably know EDMC better by its school names: the Art Institutes, Argosy University, and Brown-Mackie College.

The lawsuit alleged “that the company defrauded taxpayers out of billions of dollars.” The company is accused of admitted unqualified students and then encouraging them to receive federal and private loans to fund their educations.

Education Management Corporation continues to maintain its innocence and released a statement regarding the settlement.

In part that statement says:

“We are also pleased to have resolved the civil claims raised by the Department of Justice and state attorneys general. Though we continue to believe the allegations in the cases were without merit, putting these matters behind us returns our focus to educating students.”

A payout to the government of nearly $100 million, however, certainly sounds as if there was merit involved.

For-profit institutions and its practices of targeting low-income students have been under fire by Arne Duncan and the United States Department of Education for some time.

Earlier this year, the for-profit Corinthian Colleges shut down all of its campuses and was fined upwards of $30 million by the U.S. Dept. of Ed. “for misrepresentation.”

While Corinthian is out-of-business, Education Management Corporation will continue to do business and enroll students. Because the company admitted no guilt, students who attended schools under the EDMC banner will likely be ineligible for debt relief.

Part of the settlement also includes over $100 in loan forgiveness for students who left EDMC after just 45 days of enrollment. All other students are still liable for any debt incurred while attending an EDMC institution.

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