FTC goes to court to challenge DeVry’s employment and earnings claims

According to a lawsuit just filed by the FTC, DeVry University’s ads conveyed to consumers that 90% of its graduates actively seeking employment landed new jobs in their field of study within six months of graduation. You can say this about DeVry: The company has been remarkably consistent in driving home the “90%” marketing message to prospective students in print and TV ads, online campaigns, brochures, and other advertising. But according to the FTC’s complaint, the claim is deceptive. The FTC also challenges as misleading DeVry’s representation that, as a result of attending DeVry, one year after graduation the average or median earnings of its grads with bachelor’s degrees were 15% higher than the earnings of grads with bachelor’s degrees from all other colleges and universities. A closer look at the complaint offers insights into how DeVry attempts to back up those statements – and why the FTC has gone to court to challenge them as deceptive.

For many people, higher education is one of the most expensive purchases they’ll ever make and a DeVry degree is no exception. According to the FTC, DeVry’s ads conveyed to prospective students that getting a DeVry degree is highly likely to result in getting a desirable job soon after graduating – a well-paying, career-oriented position in their chosen field of study.

DeVry attempts to support its showcase “90%” claim with information from its Career Services department. But the FTC alleges that those figures don’t stand up to scrutiny because “Defendants count a substantial number of DVU graduates who should not be counted and similarly exclude a substantial number of DVU graduates who should not be excluded.”

For example, the company counted grads who simply continued in the same job they had before they even enrolled at DeVry. What’s more, the FTC says the defendants defined “in their field of study” in a way that led to deceptive results. The complaint cites examples of students who didn’t believe they were employed in their field and yet DeVry counted them toward that 90% figure:

  • Business administration grad with a specialization in health services management who was waiting tables at a restaurant;
  • Business administration grad with a specialization in health care management who was working as a car salesman; and
  • Technical management grads who volunteered at medical centers, delivered mail in rural areas, and transported rain gutters for a construction services company.

The FTC alleges the defendants also excluded from the 90% statistic a number of unemployed students who were actively seeking work without success.

What about DeVry’s claim that one year after graduation, the average or median earnings of its grads with bachelor’s degrees were 15% higher than the earnings of grads with bachelor’s degrees from all other colleges and universities? DeVry relied on an income report from a third party that, according to the FTC, gave DeVry reason to question those conclusions and the claim DeVry made based on the report. Furthermore, the FTC alleges that a comparison of DeVry’s own numbers with publicly available income data called DeVry’s claim into question.

Filed in federal court in Los Angeles, the complaint names DeVry Education Group, Inc., DeVry University, Inc., and DeVry/New York Inc.  Even at this early stage, this is a case to watch if your company makes objective, quantifiable advertising claims for your products or services.

 

Comments

If Devry is so horrible...where at least they offer an education, how have you not gone after Herbalife where the evidence and levels of deception and fraud is undeniable? Stop playing politics and worrying about what billionaire is going to win or lose and do your job!!!

You are shill pundit bringing up a subject matter to deflect the true issue of FRAUD being perpetrated in the Higher Learning Business. I enrolled with Kaplan and the DEFRAUDED me. I was told that I could not take more than 2 classes. This makes me a 3/4 enrolled student. However they set the cost of the two remedial mandatory classes to extract the entire amount of my Pell Grant and Student loan.

I stated at the start of the Kaplan courses that I needed to be enrolled as a FULL TIME STUDENT as I have a PR firm that is taking my Drone Manufacturing Company Public. I was lied to by Kaplan staff and told that it was illegal and not possible to be registered as Full Time Student. This caused substantial delay in the company agenda, thus causing monetary loss.

While talking to my PR company and investors during this time Kaplan, without warning withdrew me from thier school. They then sent me another bill for $2,200 and placed it against my credit. The grand total KAPLAN extracted with no benefit to me is $6,700 for two remedial classes. Those classes are English and Microsoft Basics.

I am a Computer Science Engineer and have been for 22 years. I am a memeber of the Microsoft Developers Network since inception in 1995. I have studied 8 Years with a large multi-national banking firm. During my study I have been instructed on how to properly write a business plan. These plans include proper English, charts, graphics and financials. Writing a business plan for corporations is a complex task that requires a higher level of learning than that of pundit.

DeVry, Kaplan and Phoenix have thousands of complaints against them. They are nothing more than large organised crime families that should be investigated and charged under the RICO Act. They have been defrauding people as a collective for over 10 years. This is a stipulation in the RICO Act.

So with today's statement you're basically saying that potential students would be better of becoming an Herbalife entrepreneurs and opening fit camps than go to college and get an education. Way to go FTC...keep going after the small fish!

Wasting taxpayers dollars babying the American public and letting the real shady actors of large corporate America waltz on. Big pharma? Health insurance companies?

Where can a former student go to get updates on details of the DeVry lawsuit and/or provide their story if they felt mislead?

I would like to reiterate DouglasF's question: is there somewhere we can sign on to this class action lawsuit?

I was one of the individuals that Devry University mislead. Where can I go to get information or sign up to this class action lawsuit?

DeVry does indeed mislead their students. When they talk about 90% of their graduates, you have to keep in mind that is a much smaller number than they would like anyone to know. Back in 2002, I asked what the graduation rate was at the Addison, Il campus. After some prodding, I was told it was 11%. Finding jobs for 11% must be getting harder if they have to manipulate the statistics like they do. The department of education has had DeVry in their sites for a long time due to their student loan default rate. Then there is the issue of how they pay their admissions reps. The year before they are due to be audited by their accreditation board ( north central) the pay scale gets revamped. Directly after they get a favorable review, reps go back to getting promotions based on meeting their enrollment goals, which is illegal. DeVry has been exposed many times for their illegal behavior, but the charges never seem to stick. They have contacts in Washington that keep them protected.

I worked for DeVry for 20 years. You have no idea what employees are told to say in every area, including Admissions. You should also check out their method of testing, Financial Aid, and Admissions not just Placement. P.S. Check out their turnover rate of employees.

I believe that FTC is doing an excellent job, this is a government that stands with the consumers when they bring credible complaints. FTC may not be able to prosecute a case that it has not been made aware of. Do you have a case, file a complaint!

Hope they lose, devry needs to be put out. Scam school of liars

how will we be notified if they are found guilty? what is the process for loan forgiveness and how would we be able to recoup what we spent on the bogus claims?

Hi, JMMMMM. The FTC filed its lawsuit in January, so the case is still in the very early stages.

I attended DeVry in hopes to attain their false promises. I was promised higher earnings, better in employment within the CIS field after graduations and a high salary range. Instead I just received large amounts of student loans. Before attending DeVry University, I had been studying for my Office Administration degree and had no issues finding employment within my field. I changed schools and degree, after a representative from DeVry University came to my home and promise me that by attending DeVry's University my life would change for the better. Once I enrolled full-time in computer information system and computer forensic's Bachelor's degree program, I faced nothing but road blocks while at DeVry University and eventhough I learnt computer programming languages, IT hardware/software, computer forensics track, I have not yet obtain employment in the field of computers, IT, system admin, or nothing. My income potential actually decreased due to my decision to change my field of studies and job search.

What is being done for students whom have student loan debt, today?

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