The Texas Workforce Commission Career Schools and Colleges rules require that a school must report program completion, job placement, and employment data each year for each program approved by TWC. The career schools are required to show that a minimum number of students are being employed in their field upon graduation. If the program cannot meet the minimum requirements the program’s approval is revoked.
Recently, the Texas Workforce Commission concluded an investigation of American Commercial College. American Commercial College has campuses throughout Texas including Lubbock, Abilene, Odessa, and San Angelo. The TWC investigation concluded that ACC’s reported employment rates were highly unreliable and significantly misreported. TWC found that many of the graduates that were reported as employed were not employed as reported. When these graduates were removed from the totals the Abilene and Lubbock campuses failed to meet the minimum employment rate for the past three consecutive years, which requires the revocation of certificates of approval. Additionally, the TWC found that many students that were employed were reported twice in different years. Employees also admitted that they falsified employment information on the reports submitted to the TWC in the direction of ACC management.
Under Texas Education Code §132.065 career schools or colleges that are eligible to receive federal student loans under Title IV, Higher Education Act of 1965 (USC §1070 et seq.) are required to verify each student’s enrollment in the program by documenting the student’s participation in an academically related activity (ARA) of the program at four different times during a semester. The TWC investigation found that ACC forged student signatures on ARA forms.
Unfortunately many career schools and colleges do not follow these requirements. This latest action by the TWC is aimed at protecting students. If you believe that your career school or college is not following requirements you need an advocate. Contact an attorney that is well-versed in consumer fraud. Julie Johnson has devoted her career to fighting these kinds of practices, and she will put her expertise to work for you.
On December 8, 2010, The Texas Tribune featured, “Private, for-profit colleges under the microscope.” The article discusses the ongoing federal hearings to rein in these institutions. The students attending these career colleges are nearly two-thirds minorities and often first-generation college-goers. They are paying significant tuition rates and taking out huge loans to attend. Student often has a hard time transferring their credits or even finding a job after graduation.
How does our State regulate this industry? The Texas Workforce Commission and the Texas Higher Education Commission assist, but there is no state regulation to prevent predatory recruitment.
Julie Johnson, a school fraud attorney, is featured in the article as an advocate for the students. Ms. Johnson currently represents victims of these institutions.
For more information about school fraud, please visit www.juliejohnsonlaw.com.
Over the past several years, enrollment in for-profit colleges has grown from 365,000 to 1.8 million students. These students received $4 billion in Pell Grants and $20 billion in federal loans in 2009 alone. That’s a lot of federal money being given away to help students achieve their long-term career goals. But, is the money being spent properly? Are these schools becoming the next money-hungry business in America?
The United States Government Accountability Office conducted an undercover investigation into fifteen for-profit colleges to find out just that. Are these schools operating to help the students or merely take their money? The purpose of the investigation was two-fold: (1) to determine whether the colleges were engaging in fraudulent, deceptive, or other questionable marketing practices and (2) to compare the tuition rates with other colleges in the region. They sent undercover applicants to schools in Arizona, California, Florida, Illinois, Pennsylvania, Texas, and Washington, D.C.
The results are startling! All fifteen schools engaged in deceptive or otherwise questionable statements to applicants. That means that when these students went to enroll, they were told false or misleading information about the value of education and their future success in their careers. Four colleges encouraged applicants to submit false information on financial forms. This would mean the school would make a lot more money from our federal government. The study also found the schools cost more than associate’s degrees and certificates at comparable institutions in the geographic region.
In today’s economic climate, individuals who are out of work and cannot find a job are turning to get a degree and furthering their education. The degree could be in anything from massage therapy to management. People are lured by the promise of a high-paying career, an education in a short period of time, and a way out of their current dire situation. These schools are preying on these people by lying to them and giving them a worthless degree.
Is your school engaging in fraudulent practices? Are you a victim of these colleges? Go to www.juliejohnsonlaw.com to find out.
For the full report provided in Testimony Before the Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions before the U.S. Senate, August 4, 2010.
A disturbing trend has surfaced in the for-profit education industry. Stories of students being misled about program certification, transferability of credits, and enormous loan burdens seem to be in the news every month. Students that don’t get the education they bargained for are left with a mountain of debt and are still unqualified for the jobs they sought. As a result, these students often are unable to pay back the money they borrowed. When students do not make payments on their federal loans and the loans are in default, the federal government and taxpayers assume nearly all the risk and are left with the costs. The only winners are the for-profits that reap millions in profit from the taxpayers they exploit.
Not all for-profits are bad actors, some are forthright about their programs and the costs associated with them. If you have questions on whether or not your school has committed education fraud to consider the following: