Phoenix - More than $2.7 million dollars in outstanding student loan debt will be forgiven for approximately 2,000 former students in Arizona through an agreement reached by Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich, a group of state attorneys general, and the Education Management Corporation. EDMC operates Argosy University, The Art Institutes, Brown Mackie College, and South University.
"We found that many students who enrolled in these schools to make a better life for themselves were instead left unemployed with thousands of dollars in student loan debt," said Attorney General Mark Brnovich. "We will continue to hold EDMC accountable for what we believe are unfair recruitment and enrollment practices."
Nationwide, the agreement requires EDMC to forgive $102.8 million in outstanding loan debt held by more than 80,000 former students. EDMC, a for-profit education company, based in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, operates 110 schools in 32 states and Canada through four education systems.
After receiving numerous complaints from current and former EDMC students, 39 state attorneys general plus the District of Columbia, initiated a multi-state investigation in January of last year. Attorneys and investigators reviewed allegations that EDMC used deceptive and high-pressure sales tactics, made false claims regarding program accreditation, misrepresented job placement data to students and prospective students, and maintained an unfair refund policy.
A consent judgment filed in Maricopa County Superior Court mandates added disclosures to students, including a new interactive online financial disclosure tool; bars misrepresentations to prospective students; prohibits enrollment in unaccredited programs; and institutes an extended period when new students can withdraw with no financial obligation. The consent judgment is subject to court approval.
Those who will receive automatic relief related to outstanding EDMC institutional loans must have been enrolled in an EDMC program with fewer than twenty-four transfer credits; withdrew within forty-five days of the first day of their first term; and their final day of attendance must have been between January 1, 2006 and December 31, 2014.
In addition to the relief described above, EDMC also agreed to work with Attorney General Brnovich to negotiate possible additional restitution related to Brown Mackie’s Nursing Program in Tucson.
If you are a current or former student enrolled in the Brown Mackie Nursing Program in Tucson, or if you believe you are a victim of any type of consumer fraud and would like to file a complaint, you can do so online by visiting the Arizona Attorney General’s website. You can also contact the Attorney General's Office in Phoenix at (602) 542-5763, in Tucson at (520) 628-6504, or outside the Phoenix and Tucson metro areas at 1(800) 352-8431.
Thomas Perrelli, U.S. Associate Attorney General, will independently monitor the company's settlement compliance for three years and issue annual reports.
This case was handled by Assistant Attorneys General Nancy Anger and David Garbarino.
For additional information, members of the media may contact Mia Garcia, Spokesperson & Director of Media Relations at 602-339-5895 or Mia.Garcia@azag.gov.
- Copy of the Consent Judgment.