New York's attorney general has filed a lawsuit against an Indianapolis-based seller of online nursing studies, alleging it deceptively induced up to 2,000 New Yorkers to sign up in hopes of obtaining an associate's degree in nursing.
Attorney General Eric Schneiderman said his office has obtained a temporary restraining order in state court requiring The College Network Inc. and its owner and CEO, Gary Eyler, to clearly disclose on all contract documents that it's not affiliated with Albany, New York-based Excelsior College and isn't a degree-granting program.
The College Network's headquarters is at 3815 River Crossing Parkway on Indianapolis' north side. The company was founded in 1995.
The suit alleges students were subject to high-pressure sales pitches and paid thousands of dollars for ineffective study guides that did not prepare them for the required exams for course credit and failed to provide required cancellation notices and refunds.
“Businesses operating in New York must conduct business fairly, and that means not using false and deceptive advertising to take advantage of consumers," New York Attorney General Schneiderman said in a written statement. "As we allege, hard-working New Yorkers – many of them single moms and immigrants – were duped into buying expensive, inadequate study materials and access to ‘academic advisors’ who were falsely touted as experts. Businesses that take advantage of people seeking to better their lives and communities deserve especially tough attention from law enforcement, and we will continue working to crack down on this kind of abuse in the education sector.”
A call to The College Network's lawyer was not immediately returned.
According to court papers, The College Network targeted licensed practical nurses and paramedics with online ads that created the false impression that The College Network was affiliated with Excelsior College and offered associate degrees in nursing that consumers could earn “in just 18 months.”