Minnesota AG: For-profit colleges 'exploited' police hopefuls

Minnesota AG: For-profit colleges 'exploited dream' of police hopefuls

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ST. PAUL, Minn. (KMSP) -

Minnesota Attorney General Lori Swanson filed a lawsuit Tuesday against Minnesota School of Business and Globe University for misleading marketing and aggressive enrollment tactics that target criminal justice students, despite degree programs that don't lead to careers as police officers. The attorney general said some students enrolled at these schools were left with tens of thousands of dollars of debt, but no ability to find a job in their chosen field.

“Going to college has long been a way for people to try to make a better life for themselves,” Swanson said. “The schools exploited this dream for some students, who are now saddled with debt.”

Misleading marketing

Minnesota School of Business and Globe University recommend their criminal justice program to students who want to become police officers, but it’s impossible for “graduates” of the schools to become police officers. That’s because the schools are not regionally-accredited institutions and do not offer an education approved by the Minnesota Peace Officer Standards and Training Board.

These schools do, however, produce advertisements for their criminal justice program that show people in police uniforms making arrests and administering field sobriety checks.

Debt, but no job

Some students who enrolled in the criminal justice programs at these schools racked up tens of thousands of dollars of debt with no ability to become a police officer in Minnesota. The associate’s degree program costs $35,100 and the bachelor’s degree program costs $70,200.

“It isn’t right for students whose goal is to protect and defend the public as police officers to be sold a degree that doesn’t even allow them to become a police officer in Minnesota,” Swanson said.

Shady sales tactics

The lawsuit highlights a training manual used by the schools to steer prospective students into a program, which “takes away the doubt” of enrolling. It also states that if the prospective student trusts the sales representative and if they use convicting language, “you will have a sale.”

The lawsuit describes training and coaching tactics that tell representatives that “we are selling a feeling, an attitude” and requires them to use the students’ dreams to sell them on a future of success. After asking a potential student to enroll in a program, representatives are trained to remain silent: “When you ask the question at the final close, remain silent. The next one who speaks loses.”

The lawsuit, filed in Hennepin County District Court, seeks penalties, and restitution for students and an injunction to stop these sales tactics and misleading marketing.

Past lawsuits

In 1986, a group of former students sued Minnesota School of Business for misrepresenting its program, degree and transferability of credits.

In 1997, former students sued Minnesota School of Business for misrepresenting a program, job placement rates and credit transferability.

In 2012, two former employees filed separate suits against Minnesota School of Business in which they alleged the school made misrepresentations to students.

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