Three women say Fortis College took them for $15,000 apiece in Pell Grants and student loans by lying about the accreditation of the high school diplomas in its cosmetology program.
In a lawsuit filed in Mobile, Alabama, Jermonica Robinson, Robin Williams and Raven Williams say they enrolled at Fortis' Mobile campus in November 2009 after being told that upon completion of the cosmetology program, they would also receive high school diplomas from an accredited institution, required to be a licensed cosmetologist in Alabama.
The three say they successfully completed the cosmetology program and received their cosmetology certificate and a high school diploma issued by Atlantic Southeast Academy of Miami, Fla.
The school is not recognized by the state of Alabama, however, and the women were not able to get their cosmetology licenses, according to the complaint.
The suit says Fortis offered to reimburse the three for the cost of taking a General Equivalency Diploma (GED) exam but the plaintiffs would still not have an accredited high school diploma, which is the reason they enrolled in the Fortis program, the suit alleges.
The lawsuit charges that the school's promises to them were fraudulent and seeks a full refund of all fees paid by the students and appropriate punitive damage and legal costs.
Fortis is a private, for-profit vocational school with campuses throughout the United States.