DeVry University has agreed to pay $2.25 million in restitution to New York graduates, wrapping up charges that the for-profit school lured students with ads that exaggerated both graduates’ success in finding jobs and potential salary figures. DeVry will also pay $500,000 in penalties, fees, and costs.
“DeVry used misleading claims to lure in students who were simply seeking a college degree, greatly exaggerating job and salary prospects for graduates” said Attorney General Eric Schneiderman. “I’m pleased that this settlement provides much-deserved restitution to students who were misled, and requires DeVry to stop its false advertising.”
DeVry graduates eligible to participate in the claims process include:
(1) graduates of associates and bachelor’s degree programs at DeVry campuses in New York who began their program between July 2008 and September 2015; and
(2) New York residents that graduated from DeVry online associates or bachelor’s programs and who began their program between July 2008 and September 2015.
Those graduates will be eligible to receive restitution if they submit a claim form that indicates that the graduate was not employed in her field of study within six months of graduation, despite seeking in-field employment.
Graduates eligible to participate in the claims process will receive a claim form by mail.
DeVry recently reached a separate settlement with the Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”) concerning its advertising practices. New York DeVry graduates may be eligible to receive restitution under both settlements.
DeVry is headquartered in Illinois and operates fifty-five campuses throughout the country, including three in New York City. DeVry also offers online college programs.
Many of DeVry’s advertisements centered on a claim that 90% of DeVry graduates who are actively seeking employment obtain employment in their field of study within six months of graduation. The investigation revealed that the 90% claim was misleading because a substantial number of the graduates included in the 90% figure were graduates who were already employed prior to graduating from DeVry, Schneiderman's office said. In fact, many of the graduates included in the 90% were employed before they even enrolled at DeVry.
In addition, DeVry’s employment outcome statistics inaccurately classified a significant number of graduates as employed in their field of study, when in reality the graduates were not working in their field.
For example, DeVry counted graduates of DeVry’s Technical Management program as “employed in field” where the graduates were employed as retail salespersons, receptionists, bank tellers, and data entry workers. In some cases, graduates were counted as employed in their field of study despite holding positions that did not require a college degree.