More than 195,000 students will not have to pay their school debt after a national settlement agreement between Career Education Corporation and 49 states, including Indiana.
At the close of a five-year investigation of the for-profit education company, the settlement determined that CEC would reform its recruiting and enrollment practices and forgo collecting more than $556.5 million in debts owed by students.
Several state AGs launched an investigation into CEC in January 2014 after receiving several complaints from students and a critical report from the U.S. Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee. CEC allegedly pressured its employees to enroll students and engaged in unfair and deceptive practices, including making misleading statements or failing to disclose information to prospective students on total costs, transferability of credits, program offerings, job placement rates, and other topics.
“Protecting Indiana students from fraud is a top priority,” Indiana Attorney General Curtis Hill said in a statement. “Institutions of higher learning must follow the rules and will be held accountable when they don’t. My commitment to protecting Hoosiers from unscrupulous business practices is unwavering.”
The Attorney General’s office said CEC also agreed to forgo any and all efforts to collect amounts owed by former students living in the states participating in the agreement. That means roughly 2,700 Hoosier students will receive more than $5.6 million in relief. Indiana will also receive $2,750. Nationally, the average individual debt relief will be about $2,852.
The education company offers primarily online courses through American InterContinental University and Colorado Technical University. Relief will be granted to students who either attended a CEC institution that closed before Jan. 1, 2019, or whose final day of attendance at AIU or CTU occurred on or before Dec. 31, 2013.
Illinois-based CEC operated schools whose brands included Briarcliffe College, Brooks Institute, Brown College, Harrington College of Design, International Academy of Design & Technology, Le Cordon Bleu, Missouri College, and Sanford-Brown. Former Students with debt relief eligibility questions can call toll free, 844-783-8629, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.