Five students say the Tri-State Institute, Birmingham, Ala., lied about its ability to qualify them to take the national exam to be health information technologists.

The students say that admissions counselors told them the field of medical record processing and other medical and health related fields was “wide open” and offered an abundance of jobs in the Birmingham area.

The students agreed to enroll and school employees helped them fill out the application forms and apply for federally-insured student loans, the suit alleges.

Upon completing their studies, the five applied to the American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA) to take the examination required to become a Registered Health Information Technologist, but were told that because Tri-State was not accredited, they would not be eligible to take the exam.

The students say they “now have exhausted certain available student loans and have expended an enormous amount of time that is essentially useless in the furtherance of their expected careers. ”

The suit, filed in Jefferson County, Ala., Circuit Court, asks the court to award appropriate damages for the students' loss of time and money.