Lots of people choose a college to boost their earning potential. So it might have been appealing if you came across an ad from DeVry claiming that 90 percent of graduates actively seeking employment landed jobs in their field within six months of graduation. And that DeVry bachelor’s degree graduates, on average, had 15 percent higher incomes one year after graduation than the graduates of all other colleges or universities.
The FTC investigated these claims and in January 2016, filed a complaint alleging that DeVry stretched the truth and misled prospective students. The outcome — DeVry agreed to a $100 million settlement of the FTC’s charges. The settlement provides relief for affected students, prohibits DeVry from misrepresenting the likelihood of graduates to get a job as a result of their degree, and from misrepresenting the compensation or salary that graduates have received or can be expected to receive.
What happens to the $100 Million? Nearly half, $49.4 million will be distributed to qualifying students who were harmed by the ads. The other $50.6 million goes to student debt forgiveness. The debt being forgiven includes the full balance owed — $30.35 million — on all unpaid private student loans that DeVry issued to undergraduates between September 2008 and September 2015, and $20.25 million in student debts owed to DeVry for things such as tuition, books and lab fees.
What should you do if you were affected? Be on the lookout for information from the FTC on your eligibility for a refund or for a notification from DeVry explaining your debt forgiveness. DeVry will inform the credit bureaus and debt collection agencies of your debt forgiveness and will notify you within 30 days after the court enters the order. DeVry also will release transcripts and diplomas that were withheld from students due to outstanding debt and will cooperate with future requests for those documents. And DeVry will set up a toll-free number to help students whose credit reports don’t show the right information about their debt forgiveness.
You can find out more about federal direct loans you took out to finance your education at the Department of Education’s loan repayment page.