This university must pay $22 million for false student loan claims

This university must pay $22 million for false student loan claims.

Here’s what you need to know.

Student loans

A San Diego Superior Court judge has ruled that Ashford University, a for-profit online university, and its parent company, Zovio, must pay $22.37 million in penalties for misleading a student into error in several ways. The Court held that Ashford:

  • misleads students about the amount of student loans they would receive and the costs they would cover;
  • deceived students about their ability to become teachers using an Ashford degree;
  • deceived students about their ability to become nurses, social workers, and drug and alcohol counselors;
  • misleads students by “minimizing” their student debt;
  • distorted federal financial aid rules;
  • misrepresentation of students’ ability to transfer credits; and
  • fool students about the pace and time commitment of an Ashford degree.

“Today’s decision is a victory for the many Californians whose college dreams turned into nightmares after enrolling at Ashford University,” Attorney General Rob Bonta said. “Ashford made false promises to students about the value of an Ashford degree, leaving students with mounting debt, broken promises and looking for jobs.

The civil judgment follows an 18-day trial. Ashford University, which at one time had 80,000 students, was acquired in 2020 by the nonprofit University of Arizona Global Campus, which offers online higher education programs. Ashford students would have paid around $40,000 to $60,000 for a bachelor’s degree. The California Attorney General is urging US Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona to provide student loan relief to these borrowers for their student loans.

“The Court’s findings provide a solid basis for the Department of Education to provide Ashford students with relief from their federal student loans,” Bonta said. “I urge Secretary Cardona to act quickly to provide this assistance.”

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