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More than 2,500 South Carolina students who attended classes at the for-profit Career Education Corp. won’t have to repay them, according to a settlement between the company and 48 attorneys general throughout the country.
S.C. students owed the company a total of $4,943,823, meaning S.C. students will receive an average of $1,970 in debt relief, according to a press release from S.C. Attorney General Alan Wilson’s office.
“This company misled South Carolina students who were trying to better themselves and left them with debts they couldn’t pay because they were deceived about their chances of getting jobs,” Attorney General Alan Wilson said in a press release. “The company violated our laws against unfair and deceptive trade practices and is now paying the price.”
The Illinois-based company primarily offered online classes through American InterContinental University and Colorado Technical University, according to Career Education Corp.’s website.
Nationwide, the settlement will cost Career Education Corp. $493 million, according to NPR, Wilson’s office and the Iowa Attorney General.
Wilson and other attorneys general alleged Career Education Corp. deceived students about the total cost of enrollment, misled students about which credits would transfer from and to the company’s schools and failing to disclose that some academic programs lacked accreditation, the release said.
This is the latest blow to the for-profit model of higher education. Late last year, Education Corp. of America, which owned Virginia College, went under, leaving roughly 1,000 S.C. students scrambling to find a new school, according to previous reporting by The State.
Nationwide, enrollment at for-profit colleges has taken a nosedive. Between 2015 and 2017, enrollment at for-profit colleges decreased 21 percent, according to the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center.