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The Federal Trade Commission is cracking down on for-profit education, citing deceptive practices.

The FTC put a total of 70 for-profit higher education institutions “on notice,” saying the agency would not tolerate false promises about graduates’ job and earning prospects and would impose “significant financial penalties” on violators.


“For too long, unscrupulous for-profit schools have preyed on students without penalty, when they defraud their students and put them in debt,” FTC President Lina M. Khan said in a statement. don’t have to face it.” Statement.

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The agency said it is reviving its Criminal Offenses Authority, found in Section 5 of the FTC Act, to ensure that bad actors pay a price.

The list represents “the largest for-profit colleges and vocational schools nationwide,” the FTC said, adding that “the companies operating these colleges will be on notice that they may impose significant sanctions for engaging in certain illegal practices.”

The practices outlined in the notice can result in a civil penalty of up to $43,792 per violation.

The commission said the “broad-based initiative” is the first use of its Criminal Crime Authority to protect students and their families.

The authority allows the agency to seek civil penalties against a company that engages in conduct that it knows has been found to be unlawful, other than a consent order in a previous FTC administrative order, the commission said.

There has been a 70% increase in FTC complaints about education-related issues between 2018 and 2020.

“Many of the practices outlined in the notice relate to claims made by institutions about the career outcomes of their graduates, including whether a particular career field is in demand, the percentage of graduates who obtain jobs in their chosen field, whether the institution can help or not. A graduate gets a job, the amount of money a graduate can expect to earn and other related practices,” the FTC said.

The Harvard Law School (HLS) Clinical and Pro Bono Programs said in a statement, “It is no surprise that being ripped off by a for-profit college affects more than just the student who attends. One student borrower’s outstanding debt affects their entire family.” june blog post.

Titled “Student Loan Truth: For-Profit Colleges Aren’t Just To Scam Students. They’re Scamming Their Parents Too,” the post said, adding that some for-profit schools “infamously flaunt their scams.” Predators use targeting practices to sell. Low-income families rely on federal financial aid dollars to make money.”

The post cited a not-for-profit institution that prompted students to take more loans. According to the HLS Post, “These institutions thrive by deliberately confusing the process. Capitalizing on students’ fear of losing their chance at a degree by drowning in paperwork and losing their chance at a degree.”

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The FTC said it would work closely with state and federal partners and monitor the market carefully.

The commission provides a contact List of institutions that are recipients of the FTC’s notices of penal offenses. “The fact that a school is on this list is not an indication that it did anything wrong,” the FTC said.