Dec 11, 2019

University of Phoenix to pay $191 million for false advertising to recruit students

In this image, a campus sign reads "University of Phoenix"

Photo: Scott Olson/Getty Images

For-profit University of Phoenix said on Tuesday it will cancel $141 million in student debt in a settlement with the Federal Trade Commission, the Wall Street Journal reports.

Catch up quick: The FTC claims the University of Phoenix gave students the false impression — through deceptive advertisements — that the school worked with companies like Twitter, Microsoft and Adobe and could help them get jobs there, per the WSJ.

  • The university will also pay $50 million in cash for the settlement.
  • Only those students who were affected by the false ads will have their debt canceled, WSJ notes.
  • The University of Phoenix told the WSJ that it marketed the advertisements in question from late 2012 to early 2014.

What they're saying: The university said the advertising campaign in question "occurred under prior ownership and concluded before the FTC’s inquiry began,” in an emailed statement to the WSJ. “We continue to believe the University acted appropriately and has admitted no wrongdoing," the school said.

The big picture: Over 1,000 for-profit college campuses have closed in the past five years, according to the Chronicle of Higher Education, amid accusations of predatory lending and false advertising.

Go deeper: Students in poverty fuel for-profit universities

Go deeper