CHARLESTON — Attorney General Patrick Morrisey announced a multistate agreement with for-profit education company Education Management Corporation that will significantly reform the company’s recruiting and enrollment practices, as well as forgive $445,973 in loans for approximately 428 West Virginia students enrolled in online courses.
The agreement with attorneys general in 39 states, plus the District of Columbia, through a consent judgment filed Monday in Kanawha Circuit Court, mandates added disclosures to students, including a new interactive online financial disclosure tool; bars misrepresentations to prospective students; prohibits enrollment in unaccredited programs; and institutes an extended period when new students can withdraw with no financial obligation.
Nationwide, the agreement requires the for-profit college company to forgive $102.8 million in outstanding loan debt held by more than 80,000 former students.
After receiving numerous complaints from current and former EDMC students, state attorneys general initiated a multistate investigation last January.
“We enforce our consumer laws vigorously and were pleased to partner with a bipartisan coalition of states across the country to resolve this matter,” Morrisey said.
According to the agreement, Thomas Perrelli, former U.S. Associate Attorney General, will independently monitor the company’s settlement compliance for three years and issue annual reports.
EDMC does not admit to the conduct alleged by attorneys general as a part of the settlement.
EDMC is based in Pittsburgh and operates 110 schools in 32 states and Canada through four education systems, including Argosy University, The Art Institutes, Brown Mackie College and South University.
Other states involved are Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, D.C., Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Tennessee, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, and Wyoming.