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Most people go to college to earn a degree and get a good job. In a competitive job market, it helps to have connections. So when a college or university claims it has relationships with well-known employers, that may convince you to attend. But beware: Claims like this may be a ploy to attract new students — and your tuition dollars. In fact, the FTC says that’s just what one for-profit university did as part of an extensive advertising campaign.

In a proposed settlement announced today, the FTC says that for-profit University of Phoenix, and its parent company, Apollo Education Group, Inc., falsely claimed that their relationships with top companies created job opportunities specifically for Phoenix students and deceptively claimed they worked with these companies to develop courses. 

FTC settlement with University of Phoenix

The FTC says that University of Phoenix used a multi-media ad campaign to attract students, including ads specifically targeted to military and Hispanic consumers. The companies’ “Let’s Get to Work” campaign featured several high-profile employers, including Microsoft, Twitter, Adobe, and Yahoo!, giving the false impression that UOP worked with those companies to create job opportunities for its students.

As part of the $191 million settlement, the companies will return $50 million in cash to former students and cancel $141 million in student debt owed directly to the school. The proposed order prohibits the companies from further deceptive business practices. In addition, it requires them to ask consumer reporting agencies to delete the debts from people’s credit reports, give notice to those who got debt cancellation, and make sure people have access to their diplomas and transcripts.

Before enrolling in school, it’s important to do your homework. You can get important information about any school at the U.S. Department of Education’s College Navigator. For example, if you enter a school’s name, you can find out if it’s public or private, for-profit or non-profit, its accreditation status, and its student loan default rates.

Also, check out what are people are saying about schools you’re considering. Search online for the school’s name plus words like “review,” “complaint” or “scam.”

If you’re looking to advance your education, do your homework to be sure you know what you’re paying for. Check out Choosing a College: Questions to Ask.

Added on December 19, 2019: The FTC will identify people who are eligible for a payment from the $50 million University of Phoenix settlement with the FTC. You don’t have to apply or submit a claim to get a payment. If you would like to get email updates about this settlement, please sign up here.

937 Comments

angelo.ed7 (not verified)
December 13, 2019
Ayuda por favor! Yo, Angelo E Pineda Pimentel, Estudiante Número XXXXXXX (de Máster en Social Work Clinic). Yo tengo un caso exactamente igual con la universidad Ana G Méndez, cuando me matriculé me dijeron que ellos tienen convenios para hacer la práctica profesional y que cualquier ayuda de asistencia estudiantil, no me preocupara que demoraba dos semanas. Nada es verdad. Yo, quiero acusar a la Universidad Ana G Méndez de retener los fondos ayuda estudiantil de los estudiantes. En mi curso, somos tres estudiantes que estamos esperando que nos den el dinero y nada, a pesar de que nos están cobrando un dinero que no hemos recibido. Les suplico su ayuda, Angelo E Pineda Pimentel
cmiranda
December 13, 2019

In reply to by angelo.ed7 (not verified)

Hola Angelo,

Para tu protección, no pongas tu email ni tu información personal en los comentarios. Puedes radicar una queja con nosotros con más seguridad en ftc.gov/queja. Aunque no podemos responder directamente a tu queja, tenemos investigadores que leen los comentarios.

Gracias.

Alex (not verified)
December 10, 2019
I was one of the people that believed their false advertising, got my masters degree in counseling there and never was able to find the job they promised. I don’t work in the field, I have over 80k in student debt (that started at 22k- I don’t even know how it multiplied 4 times). How can I keep up with settlement news? It would be good to have that shark student loan forgiven especially that I never use my “education”
Tina (not verified)
January 07, 2020

In reply to by Alex (not verified)

I attended Phoenix from 2011 and graduated in 2015 I i didn't get a job as promised and ended up with debt and paid money to the school I was having personal crises and ended. Up homeless now I'm a graduate with a degree and no job it just piece of paper that lead me nowhere I was promised if I stayed in school and finished it would change my life with a career in my field now I have to go back to another college and start over it not fair for the Government to have to pay the debt that they falsely created or the students because of false advertisements and false promises. My question is how do the students receive compensation do we need to file a class action lawsuit?
FTC Staff
January 09, 2020

In reply to by Tina (not verified)

Under the settlement between the FTC and the University of Phoenix, the University will cancel $141 million in debts that are owed directly to the school by people who first enrolled at the school between October 1, 2012 and December 31, 2016.

The University will cancel debts owed directly to the school whether they were charged as fees or some other kind of charge. The University will send a notice to each person whose debt to the school is being cancelled. The University will contact the people who are eligible for debt cancellation. You don't need to file anything.

The University also paid $50 million to the FTC as part of the settlement. The FTC will identify people who are eligible for a payment from the $50 million the University paid to the FTC. You don’t have to apply or submit a claim to get a payment. Please sign up here like to get email updates from the FTC about this settlement.

Eve (not verified)
February 18, 2020

In reply to by FTC Staff

How can we ensure University of Phoenix or FTC has our updated contact information i.e number, address, email?
Melody Ramos (not verified)
February 21, 2020

In reply to by FTC Staff

I attended University of Phoenix within that time frame, and have yet to be contacted. Please advise. Thank you,
Andrea1 (not verified)
June 07, 2020

In reply to by Melody Ramos (not verified)

I haven't heard anything either and I attended during that time frame.
Sully (not verified)
July 08, 2020

In reply to by Andrea1 (not verified)

I attended during that time but since my loans were federally funded this lawsuit doesn't apply. Its completely unfair.
FTC Staff
July 08, 2020

In reply to by Sully (not verified)

The University will cancel debts owed directly to the school whether they were charged as fees or some other kind of charge. The University will send a notice to each person whose debt to the school is being cancelled. The University will contact the people who are eligible for debt cancellation. You don't need to file anything.

The University also paid $50 million to the FTC as part of the settlement. The FTC will identify people who are eligible for a payment from the $50 million the University paid to the FTC. You don’t have to apply or submit a claim to get a payment. Please sign up here like to get email updates from the FTC about this settlement.

Kathi (not verified)
July 24, 2020

In reply to by FTC Staff

What is going to be done for the students that have student loans that they are paying for? Are they exempt in getting their loans forgiven because the student didn’t pay their money directly to the school?
ekouris31 (not verified)
July 27, 2020

In reply to by Kathi (not verified)

my boyfriend and i each got an email regarding this and i just sent the information requested today. when will we hear about how much each of us gets, when we should get it and how? can everyone be told a number amount of the settlement? like, how much each?
vf001 (not verified)
August 04, 2020

In reply to by ekouris31 (not verified)

Just curious, did you receive an email from the FTC, or UOP?
CindyGirl (not verified)
August 05, 2020

In reply to by ekouris31 (not verified)

I got an email notifying me that my information will be sent to the FTC and that if I don't want that done, I need to opt out... Um NO... I want confirmation that the poor/pathetic excuse of education was them and not me. They don't have just deceptive advertising an promises, the online education is a joke and I fully believe it triggered my medical issues. I better read that email again to make sure they aren't trying to have me choose wrong... again. I wish this and other schools like them would be shut down.
Connie H. (not verified)
August 11, 2020

In reply to by Kathi (not verified)

That is my question as well I still have an outstanding amount due to the US Dept of Education that I am slowly paying off but incurring interest quicker.
philomena.noye (not verified)
September 28, 2020

In reply to by FTC Staff

I can feel the pain and misery. You have to have connections or send by your employer to acquire a higher degree. Otherwise it is difficult to get employment with their degree. I have the experience.
JohnC (not verified)
February 21, 2021

In reply to by FTC Staff

What about those of us who wasted our GI Bill on this garbage “university.” Are we also out of luck?
FTC Staff
February 21, 2021

In reply to by JohnC (not verified)

The University also paid $50 million to the FTC as part of the settlement. The FTC will identify people who are eligible for a payment from the $50 million the University paid to the FTC. You don’t have to apply or submit a claim to get a payment. Please sign up here like to get email updates from the FTC about this settlement.

Vr2021 (not verified)
February 27, 2021

In reply to by FTC Staff

What are the eligibility requirements? Is the FTC just looking at students who attended during the time frame posted, or are there certain degree programs that are excluded?
caburns (not verified)
March 25, 2021

In reply to by FTC Staff

Please, I am trying to find out about students that fell for the same ploy but attended 2008 to 2012? I fell for that gimmick AND also because they stated I would be worked with in the payback amounts but instead they refused to look at ALL of my standing debt and bills and said I had to start paying back immediately, regardless of the fact that I did not get a job placement based on my degree and they wanted to charge me about $750.00 per month. I cannot find any info on who to reach out to or who to contact..nothing covering my yeas attending this college.
RenoRob (not verified)
April 24, 2021

In reply to by caburns (not verified)

I'm in the same boat. Began in 2008 with the "high paced, successful, guaranteed a job to get out of construction, blah blah blah", $700/mo later payment and still turning tools to pay back a degree earned in 2011 that won't even afford itself!
Notmyemailadress (not verified)
July 23, 2021

In reply to by caburns (not verified)

I attended the school from 2009 to 2014 with some time off in the middle. The education I received was absolute garbage . I've been trying to get these loans discharged for years. You said you were looking for others that attended within the 2008-12 time frame, so I replied. Any ideas?
Disabilityperson (not verified)
January 14, 2022

In reply to by Notmyemailadress (not verified)

Same her I was 2007, 2008 online learning there and they talked me to a loan I told them I couldn't work ti pay back. Phoenix told me not to do FASA they said it wouldnt cover my loan. I want to know how I get help
Markwastedtimeonouop (not verified)
May 01, 2021

In reply to by FTC Staff

I went before the time frame because of ads i seen and tried the online classes but eventually gave up. There was no support and i felt talked into something i wasnt ready to commit to. now i have no degree and student loan debt that is going no where but up in amount. Am i not included? Never received any notice just ads on facebook
1janie (not verified)
November 02, 2020

In reply to by Andrea1 (not verified)

I was never contacted either. I also attended during that time, I contacted the school and was given a number to call that basically said they would sent out letters, well it's been almost a year since the settlement. Ridiculous.
Brandi B (not verified)
June 30, 2021

In reply to by 1janie (not verified)

I attended from I believe 2010 to 2013 and I haven't received anything. I completed my associates and enrolled with them for my bachelor's degree during that time and I haven't heard anything from them so they definitely aren't contacting everyone. I also ended up over 60 grand in debt and I only went for a little over 2 years with them. I am really curious how that happens. I know UOP does not cost enough to end up being that much money. So, I'm pretty sure I got swindled but I am stuck with it on my credit and it has affected me getting credit for things such as vehicles, homes and such because I have such high student debt. And just like everyone else, my degree is pretty much trash!! So at this point, do we just contact the FTC ourselves or what?
rmt240288 (not verified)
November 11, 2021

In reply to by 1janie (not verified)

I was never contacted i just got off a chat and they say i owe a balance and that 2210 was returned to my lender. I do not owe a balance as i never started the semester and they are withholding my official transcript. Trying to figure out how to get them.
Sutton1 (not verified)
March 30, 2021

In reply to by Andrea1 (not verified)

I am not sure what’s going on I was in school around that time to and haven’t received anything . I am still not working in the field that I paid for and no services were provided after I finished. But have loan debts smh so unfair
ED (not verified)
June 17, 2021

In reply to by Sutton1 (not verified)

I attended the University of Phoenix between those dates for my Master's Degree. When I called them to inform them that I should be qualified, their response was you needed to be a new student. Well in regards to that response I told them anytime you reply or enroll that means you are or should be considered a new student . Something is wrong here!
lu (not verified)
August 08, 2020

In reply to by Melody Ramos (not verified)

check your email. or your school email... mine was found in my regular email account
Stan Smith (not verified)
January 31, 2021

In reply to by Melody Ramos (not verified)

Did you ever get your uOP resolved. I never was contacted either and feel I should have been
Kim C (not verified)
February 28, 2020

In reply to by FTC Staff

I attended UOP from 1998-2002. The practice of not providing job assistance or being misleading goes back to when I attended school. Will any of the settlement award go that far back? In addition, the school added a course to our graduation requirement after we had applied for financial aid. Because it was only one course, we were not considered full time students and were not qualified for financial aid to cover that last course.
debrab78 (not verified)
May 24, 2020

In reply to by Kim C (not verified)

I'm in a similar situation; graduated from University of Phoenix with an AAB in 2008. I've been paying on a $32,000 student loan debt for years and the balance only keeps increasing. The worst part about University of Phoenix is that they claim you will get a first-rate education and have many opportunities for good paying jobs. I just saw a commercial for them just the other day and it made me sick. It showed a young woman studying from home with her baby. Sick. Men and women like her are going to end up thousands of dollars in debt for a degree that isn't worth the paper it's written on. I'm working the same jobs I could have gotten with a high school diploma and none of the debt. I'm currently trying to find out if there are any options for people who were ripped off by the University of Phoenix prior to 2012. I don't understand how the UOP continually is able to get away with targeting poor people, ex-military who didn't fall under either GI Bill, and working parents and saddling them with debt that only makes their lives more difficult instead of better.
Abbey2020 (not verified)
July 03, 2020

In reply to by debrab78 (not verified)

I feel you completely, I feel I have gained zero knowledge, I feel like an imposter with a degree , that is frowned upon. With an exaggerated debt of $44,000 and growing . Unemployed and struggling to make ends meet. I enrolled in a Business Management Degree course in 2008 and graduated in 2010 . Since then no job that would get me where I needed to be . I’m without words regarding this school, I’ve contacted the FTC regarding this so called school. I hope that our story has merit on what we speak.
UOP worthless degree (not verified)
December 17, 2020

In reply to by Abbey2020 (not verified)

I'm in the same boat, enrolled in 2008 graduated 2012 with a Business Management degree. It's garbage, I'm still at an entry level postition. Looks for 2 years for a job related to my degree, put in 20 plus applications daily and kept getting generic we're sorry we are pursuing someone more qualified. The degree from UOP is like a stain on my resume and I have all this debt. When are they going to offer it for the years prior to 2014?
markita2021 (not verified)
March 24, 2021

In reply to by Abbey2020 (not verified)

I agree I graduated in 2010 with an associate in IT with false promises of a job. Everytime I tried to use my degree credentials when applying for a job they said it wasn't honored because I attended a for profit school. So I have wasted 50,000 with a degree worth less than the paper it was printed on. What about those that was defrauded before 2012, guess we have to suck it up.
Cleo21015 (not verified)
August 25, 2021

In reply to by markita2021 (not verified)

Yeah exactly the same 2006-2010 BS IT degree that failed to go in depth on anything meaningful for the field. I needed to pay for more courses for certifications in order to even have the slightest edge. However without the work experience in the IT field (which was falsely promised/ and was expected to be employed while attending... which I was Not... regardless a slave to a failed system and it's sickening.
TTugwellDon't … (not verified)
April 05, 2020

In reply to by FTC Staff

How do we find out if we qualify for this debt forgiveness? I owe University of Phoenix over $80,000
FTC Staff
May 04, 2020

In reply to by Joselyn (not verified)

The FTC will identify people who are eligible for a payment from the $50 million University of Phoenix settlement with the FTC. You don’t have to apply or submit a claim to get a payment. If you would like to get email updates about this settlement, please sign up here.

The Federal Student Aid Office of the US Department of Education has information about repaying student loans at www.StudentLoans.gov.

brackett (not verified)
June 05, 2020

In reply to by FTC Staff

I was enrolled during that time, never got to attend any classes because the school dropped me, but they didn't "officially" drop me until 3 wks into the course so they still billed me. I fought it for years and finally just paid the debt because it was effecting my credit. ironically I filed a complaint through BBB a week ago because UOP still hadn't updated my credit for over a year and requested they REMOVE it altogether. some guy emailed me directly and it was removed....but im still out what I paid for a false debt. can I be reimbursed under this settlement?
NLoua (not verified)
August 20, 2020

In reply to by brackett (not verified)

I had the same issue and I’m trying to figure out how to dispute this $400 fee they sent to collection. I already graduated and got my degree but was dumb enough to start my mba there. When I requested to be dropped out from my first class, they end up charging me for it. Can you update me if you get any new responses on your case?? Thank you!
Jess (not verified)
June 28, 2020

In reply to by FTC Staff

What if your account went to collections during the specified time period but you paid the collection in full to have the amount removed from your credit. Will those funds be reimbursed back as well?
KTack (not verified)
July 28, 2020

In reply to by FTC Staff

So does this apply to federal student loans paid to Apollo/Phoenix? Your response doesn’t seem to address that unless it’s part of the “charges” certain or other ways
FTC Staff
July 29, 2020

In reply to by KTack (not verified)

The settlement between the FTC and the University of Phoenix does not affect students' private loans or federal government loans.

vf001 (not verified)
August 04, 2020

In reply to by FTC Staff

Will students still be eligible for a refund if their tuition was paid through a loan? It’s clear that the loan itself will not be affected, but will the student be eligible to receive funds to then repay the loan?
Stephanie (not verified)
November 20, 2020

In reply to by FTC Staff

I went during this time and haven’t heard anything nothing. I owe all this money on my report and it’s giving me a bad credit score too. I need someone to contact me because all my info had changed since I went there.
Charles Gray (not verified)
March 08, 2021

In reply to by FTC Staff

Why not? It's still same scam. Is it because low income people can't get a lawyer? The scam resulted in debt and bad credit. I can't get a mortgage loan because of this.
banks1barnes (not verified)
August 29, 2020

In reply to by FTC Staff

What happens in the event a students account is not identified but the student can show time of attendance? Will the student be able to provide that information, so he or she can be included in this?