Even More Sophisticated Students Claim They’ve Been Scammed by Colleges

I’ve been drolling on about schools misleading students or at least not telling them the full story about the value of their degree before enrolling them and taking their money.

And I still say students with federal student loans who have been misled by their schools to enroll, have a way to deal with discharging their loans. Read “Door Prepares to Slam for Student Loan Forgiveness Due to Fraud.”

These schools gladly get the student to sign on the line and then cheerfully direct deposit the federal funds from student loans into their bank accounts.

The initial reaction is the argument colleges, universities, and schools have a duty to tell prospective and current students the truth, is laughed off. But when you spend more than the length of a sitcom, contemplating the issue, it has serious implications.

Volkswagen was found they manufactured cars with hacked software in them to fool emission tests and everyone gets outraged. But when it is clearly pointed out that schools of higher education misled students about graduation rates and the value of the education, people tend to say the students should have known better. Should the more experienced parents have known better before they cosigned for the student loans?

It’s one thing to not be transparent about providing such numbers in your face but it is simply another to not present them in a truthful way. Take the case of Anna Alaburda, a top tier law school graduate in California. In 2008 she graduated from Thomas Jefferson School of Law and later discovered the school had allegedly fudged their numbers to attract students into massive debt. The New York Times has a story out on her case.

Almost hilariously, other such cases have been tossed out of court because judges has “generally concluded that law students had opted for legal education at their own peril, and were sophisticated enough to have known that employment as a lawyer was not guaranteed.” Yes, we all know employment is not guaranteed but what is a student supposed to do when they find out the employment numbers a school promoted were of students not in legal jobs or even employed full time?

The concept that a college or university can lie to students is not a distant concept. Take schools like ITT Tech, Everest, WyoTech, or Corinthian. But what if the school is Ivy Tech Community College or Martin University?

It is not beyond the realm of possibility that more mainstream schools fudged, hid, or were just not transparent about their student performance in order to, hypothetically say, close the deal and make the sale.

Schools are a business. They need to enroll students and capture the tuition to turn a profit. Even nonprofit schools make a profit, they just don’t get taxed on it.

The idea a school might even unintentionally mislead a prospective student about the quality of their education is just an exercise in human behavior. People at schools are judged and evaluated about attendance and income. Groups of people feel motivated to keep those numbers looking good and why would they tell incoming students information to turn them away and discourage attendance?

Yet most people believe in higher education and almost universally trust the glossy information the school shares.

Would you go to a school that put a window sticker on your application that looked like this?

Yet that is the actual performance of one of a mainstream recognized university.

So what do you think, should schools give incoming students the facts about the outcome of attending and can students be misled into debt? Post your comments below.

If you have a credit or debt question you’d like to ask just use the online form. I’m happy to help you totally for free.

This article by Steve Rhode first appeared on Get Out of Debt Guy and was distributed by the Personal Finance Syndication Network.