FTC to Issue $49 Million in Forgiveness for DeVry False Advertising Claims



The Federal Trade Commission just promised to start sending out refund checks to people tricked into enrolling at DeVry thanks to false their advertising claims, and that’s great news for anyone still waiting on a refund from courses they took at DeVry.

This isn’t new, as DeVry’s been battling it out with the FTC for quite some time now, going way back to 2016 when they first admitted that their ads “misled prospective students”, and when they were forced to agree to pay out a total of $100,000,000 to settle their lawsuit.

On July 5th, 2017, the FTC announced that they’re going to soon start sending refund checks to about 173,000 former DeVry students, with the total payout being just short of $50 million in total refunds.

For those counting along at home, that’s about $280 per student, so for most people, that’s not going to cover a whole lot of the costs they spent on attendance at DeVry.

However, combined with this $49 million in refunds, DeVry has also agreed to forgive $51 million in total outstanding debt to former students, which is how they get to the full $100 million agreement they made with the FTC a year ago.

What Got DeVry in Trouble?

False and misleading claims in their advertising programs are the reason that DeVry is getting nailed right now, and the bulk of this settlement looks to stem from two specific claims that they’ve made in recent years, including:

1. That 90% of DeVry graduates were able to land jobs in their field within six months of graduation

2. That DeVry graduates were earning about 15 more one year after graduation than graduates of competing colleges and universities

Neither of these claims could be supported with any actual evidence, and since false advertising is illegal, DeVry is being fairly smacked down for their liberal use of “truth” in advertising practices.


Who is Eligible for the Refund?

Not all DeVry students are eligible for this refund, but there’s a pretty wide swath of people who will qualify for a check.

To be eligible to receive a check, you must:

  • Have been enrolled for the first time in a Bachelor’s or Associate’s Degree Program at DeVry between January 1st, 2008, and October 1st, 2015
  • Paid at least $5,000 in education-related expenses to DeVry, using cash, loans, military benefits,
    or some combination of those things
  • Have completed at least one class credit at DeVry
  • NOT have received debt or loan forgiveness as part of this same settlement agreement (you’re eligible for either debt/loan forgiveness, OR a refund, but not both)

DeVry has also been forced to settle with smaller entities, including the State of New York, and soon, the State of Illinois, as well as a potential suit from the Massachusetts attorney general’s office, again, over false advertising claims.

What About Other Schools?

DeVry isn’t the first school to be hit with these sorts of fines, penalties, or lawsuits, as long-time readers of my site will definitely be familiar with the old ITT Tech Forgiveness Program, as well as the Corinthian Colleges Forgiveness Program, each of which stemmed not from illegal activity, but from the businesses going kaput.

And it’s not just schools getting hit by these sorts of issues, as even Navient (the largest student loan servicing company in the country) has been forced to agree to make funds available via the Navient Loan Forgiveness Program, due to the illegal and immoral activity it’s carried out in handling student loan payments.


How do I Know if I Qualify for a Refund?

Unfortunately, I’m not sure how to find out for sure whether or not you qualify for a refund as part of the DeVry settlement, as that has not yet been announced, but I’ll be watching the news closely and update this story as soon as I get an idea of whether or not that’s possible.

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Tim's experience struggling with crushing student loan debt led him to create the website Forget Student Loan Debt, where he offers advice on paying off student loans as quickly, and cheaply, as possible. His new website Forget Tax Debt, offers similar advice to people with back tax problems.

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