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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.

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The purpose of this blog and its comments section is to inform readers about Federal Trade Commission activity, and share information to help them avoid, report, and recover from fraud, scams, and bad business practices. Your thoughts, ideas, and concerns are welcome, and we encourage comments. But keep in mind, this is a moderated blog. We review all comments before they are posted, and we won’t post comments that don’t comply with our commenting policy. We expect commenters to treat each other and the blog writers with respect.

  • We won’t post off-topic comments, repeated identical comments, or comments that include sales pitches or promotions.
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We don't edit comments to remove objectionable content, so please ensure that your comment contains none of the above. The comments posted on this blog become part of the public domain. To protect your privacy and the privacy of other people, please do not include personal information. Opinions in comments that appear in this blog belong to the individuals who expressed them. They do not belong to or represent views of the Federal Trade Commission.

August 04, 2020
I received an email within the last couple days from University of Phoenix stating that the FTC is requesting information, and gives instructions for you to opt out of the information release. This is a good sign that the settlement is progressing. For those of you that read this, PLEASE do not opt out. They are likely trying to get people to opt out so they don't have to make the payments (although it could just be an innocuous notification required by law). FTC needs to receive that information to determine payments, so opting out will prevent you from getting any settlement.
July 26, 2020
I attended the Tucson UoPhx campus between 2013-16 and finishing my MSN for @ $21K. I found my first job as a FNP within 6 months of graduating. I didn’t notice any deceptive advertising.
July 28, 2020
I attended the university around that time. I graduated with a 2 year degree. Tried to find a good job. After about 6 months or so, the UOP said I should go back for another 2 years to get my bachelors degree. I have graduated with my bachelors now for about 4 years and I still haven’t paid $50 to get my diploma. I graduated with a 3.9 gpa and the diploma is completely worthless. How do I know if I qualify for loan forgiveness or a refund or whatever else I can do. Any help would be great.
July 28, 2020
I just received an email saying it was from the University of Phoenix. This is the email. Is this legit? Dear Michele, In connection with the Stipulated Order for Permanent Injunction and Monetary Judgment entered by the United States District Court for the District of Arizona (the “Court Order”) (Case No. 2:19-cv-05772-ESW) on December 20, 2019, the University of Phoenix, Inc. (the “University”) is required to share certain of your personally identifying information to the Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”) in order facilitate the FTC’s disbursement of settlement funds to certain current and former University students. Specifically, the Court Order requires the University to provide the FTC with “any information related to redress” requested by the FTC. To that end, the FTC has requested the following information: 1. Identifying information, including name, student ID, and date of birth. 2. Contact information, including mailing address, email address, and phone number. 3. First date of enrollment, last date of attendance, and current enrollment status. 4. Program, degree level, and field of study. 5. Number of credits taken, number of credits earned, and degree(s) or certificate(s) awarded. 6. Source of funds to cover cost of attendance. 7. Whether student debt was forgiven under the Court Order and, if so, the amount forgiven. Pursuant to the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (“FERPA”), 34 C.F.R. Part 99 and the Court Order, the University is hereby providing you with notice of the Court Order and an opportunity to object so that you may seek protective action if you choose. If you object, please send a written objection to me on or before August 24, 2020, at The University will notify the FTC of your objection. Absent objection, the University is required to and will share certain of your personally identifying information and to produce certain of your student educational records to the FTC. Thank you
July 31, 2020
I attended this school and graduated in 2012 My degree was deemed useless I got a bs in environmental science to advance at my job I never was contacted about anyone helping me With job placements etc I owe over $60000 and have been paying this loan for 8 years Please advise Would like to know if I qualify as I never received any notification about this
July 31, 2020
We are in July when are we going to receive this settlement and how much is it going to be? All i keep saying its FTC repeating the samething
August 02, 2020
How do I go about getting my money back and removed from my credit report? I have a Associate degree that is useless and can not get a job in that field and never have and all the while I’ve been paying for this degree .. please help!!!!!!!
August 05, 2020
I started at AOP in 2011 and continued all of 2012, but something kept bothering me with how they were managing their courses. So, I transferred to another accredited university in 2013. I did receive my degree at another university. I received 2 of them so far. Do I still qualify for student debt forgiveness from AOP? It is stating that this issue began October 2012 - 2016; but I still have some student loans from AOP that haven’t been forgiveness or reimbursed. Am I on this list?
August 05, 2020
I attended from 2012-2014 and I was mislead by UOP. I paid my tuition in full each month so I didn’t have any debt. But I am out thousands of dollars and I still have no job from that degree. Will I be eligible for a refund?
August 06, 2020
I attended UOP from 2008-2012 BSA and then 2012-2015 for my masters. They still have yet to release my transcripts because I refused to pay money that they tried charge me for a course that the advisor stated I needed but in actuality I didn’t. When will additional information be given on this class action so I can figure out how to force UOP to provide me with my transcripts.
August 08, 2020
i think we all had a major problem with this issue. i would like to know when will this money will be sent out to us? when will the loan amount be removed off our Nelnet Accounts? this payment is only to pay what is owed directly to the school and also the interest that was gain. i hope everyone read the full court papers cause i did! all of it!!!!!! i really hope they wipe everyone clean of their payments. and give out payments for pain and suffering. im not working in my degree either.. this have really effected my credit score!!!!! i cant get anything because of the large debt im in. the FTC really need to take all of this into consideration. seriously ..
August 13, 2020
I used the GI Bill, will the money be credited back there or?
August 13, 2020
So i received a paper from University of Phoenix trying to get me to no follow thru. When will everything be finalized?
August 17, 2020
I received a letter from UoPX that stated that it was releasing some of my information to the FTC and I had the option to opt out by 09/16/20 if I do choose. I paid for some of my schooling through federal loans and other parts through personal loans and my own finances. I don’t believe I have anything outstanding with them. Does this mean I will be refunded some of the monies I paid from private loans and out of pocket? If so, when?
August 17, 2020
August 17, 2020
I understand that my loan will not be cancelled, however will I get any money back for the loan that I am currently repaying? If so, how can I check if I will be getting any money or not? If i received a letter, does that mean I am guaranteed some money or just eligible for it? I called the school and they were no help what so ever. I just do not think it will be fair that only debt to the school will be cleared. I did not even know owing the school was possible since the school's website for financial aid directs you to Federal loans.
August 18, 2020
When I applied for my BSN the gal assisting me told me my cost would be less than $10,000. I trusted her. I inquired about the notices of billing I was receiving and was told by her, herself, that she had not informed me of such. I still have the notes from our conversations. Sadly, my $35,000 debt is not through University of Phoenix but managed through NelNet. I am not sure if I have any recourse.
May 12, 2021

In reply to by Laura

I experienced same thing. I was told after credits I would pay $7,500 for the course. Some how my final bill after finishing my course I had a $14,500 bill. No one could tell me why.
August 18, 2020
In this settlement, it states "3.Defendants neither admit nor deny any of the allegations in the Complaint" How is that going to hold up on a Borrower Defense..... bc its not. Again the FTC Lets students get ran over by fraud schools.
August 19, 2020
I believe they should cancel every one debt who attended the college. What’s so different from another time frame
Kami S.
August 20, 2020
I attended this school from 01/23/2009- 06-2015, withdrew as it did not seem to go anywhere and now I have a job that I had to get thru a temp agency, I do believe that I should qualify as well, I also have not heard anything either, I had just had a baby and wanted to get an education to provide for my then 10mo old daughter, Complete fail this school
August 25, 2020
I was enrolled in 2013 and had all of my debt repaid by me. Would I get all of it back? I tried to research it but it says nothing for those that paid their loans back.
Clifton Keathley
August 26, 2020
I have not been contacted but I meet 100% of this qualification. I have ignored many calls because it sounded like a scam so how do I get back in contact about this?
September 07, 2020
Karla Campos
September 11, 2020
I studied at University of Phoenix from 2012 to 2014 a master in health care . They promised me that I would be able to get a job as a manager in a health care facility event though my previous career was in dentistry. I was so mislead!! I am still in debt of the student loan but I have not been able to find a job in the health care field. Is there a way that private student loan can be forgiven!!
September 16, 2020
When will the Day be when the FTC actually helps defrauded students in a better way... I could care less about 150 dollars... from this sad settlement. Woo Gas bill if that
September 18, 2020
Regarding the FTC regards on defrauded students applying for Borrower Defenses--- PER Dept of ED "we decline to recognize settlements as a way to satisfy the standard in § 685.222(b)." This is not a judgment against the school and the dept of ed views this a meaningless. Is the FTC clueless of this?
September 17, 2020
When can we expect to receive these notifications?
September 18, 2020
There should be a database somewhere to help with answering the question of whether or not someone would qualify for this refund or forgiveness. This current strategy seems to leave a folks in the gray. I was a UOP Student Graduated in 2013 with over $80K in debt and have not received a call. Would really like to know if there is a refund for me.
September 18, 2020

In reply to by CK

This settlement is meaning less for relief, You will get a couple hundred bucks if you have federal/private loans...per settlement relief. If you owe the school directly then its a different story... FTC stated if you believed to be defrauded you need to fill out a borrower defense against UOP on ED site. That is how you get forgiveness on federal loans if you prove UOP defrauded you. Oh and this FTC settlement doesn't prove anything in the eyes of the dept of education
Alicia Bee
September 21, 2020
Hello, I am now attending Phoenix University and I enrolled in Human Service Bachelor Degree in May 2016, will my debt be cancelled or only for the months of May 2016 to October 2016? I have never been notified and it is already Septemberr 2020 and getting ready to complete my Master's in Business Program in 2021. Please let me know if I am eligible, because it is on my credit report and it is affecting me buying a house. Thank You. Alicia B
FTC Staff
September 21, 2020

In reply to by Alicia Bee

Do you owe debts directly to the school, for things like, for example, lab fees or bookstore charges? Under the settlement, the University cancelled $141 million in debts that were owed directly to the school by people who first enrolled at the school between October 1, 2012 and December 31, 2016.

The settlement between the FTC and the University of Phoenix does not affect your loans from private sources or the federal government.

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. If you would like to get email updates about this settlement, please sign up here.

A Coleman
September 22, 2020
I attend University of Phoenix during the time and they contact me through email only advising me that personal information is needed for a lawsuit, Haven't heard anything since, it's been months, When will we see a solution?
September 23, 2020

In reply to by A Coleman

I find this misleading... FTC states if you feel defrauded by uop then submit a borrower defense... why bother??? if the dept of ED don't even recognized that you (FTC) haven't even done anything??? And its extremely sad that you settle for pennies on students lives. Most of us owe 30kplus and us with federal or private loans....woo Im going to get 300 dollars.... Good Waste of time FTC.
Ernestine Hogue23
September 26, 2020
Phoenix Call me I took classes 3 days before college was to let out I receive a call tell me to go on my computer and there was a E. I want back in 2014 doing all of my work and was given an E and had to pay them money back
Ricardo V.
September 26, 2020
What if we enrolled before 2012 and feel we were misled as well? My enrollment counselor bragged about all the companies they partnered with and all the companies that would call. Of course they never did. How can I file a complaint?
Jada& Harmani 2
September 26, 2020
I am floored when I read this, I have felt this way since I graduated. The only thing UOFP can do is harrass you by phone & email on continuing your education. Never once stepping in to assist you to locate a job in your field. Still to this day I'm not working in that field. I started applying at the city of phoenix that never even gave me an interview. This is set up perfectly to mislead people like me. You say go get a degree to move up in the world, and at the same time you got a knee on my neck.
September 26, 2020
I attended UOP from 2006 - 2009. I was promised hat I would get a job 6 months after graduation. It wasn't true. I'm not working iny field. I wish I could pay my mother back some of the money from the loans. She really needs some money right now.
Jennifer Taylor
September 26, 2020
I attended UOP from 2009 -2013 for a Bachelors and Certificate and I was guaranteed my education would land me a job because of their partnerships with employers and all their success from other students getting jobs just because they attended UOP. After I graduated, I immediately applied to these companies for repetitive emails of no's. Now, I am this educated individual making less than average and I have yet to even be interviewed because of my degree. I feel lied to, if I knew I would be in 80k debt I would have done a trade or community college. I have yet to receive an email stating I would receive anything regarding this settlement. You push for education to help and serve in the community and aid your knowledge for a big bill of debt.
September 26, 2020
I attended during the years of 20 10 to 2014 getting my MBA in 2014 of August. I owe over $100,000 in student loans and all I'm doing for work is data entry specialist. There is no way I can pay that back I just hope I can get this taken care of
September 26, 2020
I was one of the people was falsely tricked in to thinking the classes I would be taking would get more money , however I became homeless at the time of attending and could not attend , now I’m stuck with student loans
September 26, 2020
I attended The University of Phoenix in 2010. I didn't graduate, but while I attended, I was told that I would be able to get a job no matter where I lived which is in Kentucky. My credits didn't transfer and even telling a job that I attended there, they didn't count my credits as value..
Billed w no job
September 26, 2020
I had the same thing happen to me. I worked hard and was promised that having Dual degrees that I would be set for life. I worked hard to earn my grades and hoped to move forward in the Medical Field. I was promised that with my degrees people would come looking for me. I've had nothing but harassment from the school and department of ed only looking for payments and never a job to account for the bill that was created. Forever debt with no job.
September 26, 2020
I attended UOP from 2005 graduated 2011. Statements were made and information given under false pretensee. I’ve yet to be employed with my degree from UOP companies. I've looked and called getting no way. Then found out degree does not lead to a license Disappointed!!!. Now I have loans I need help. And can't go back to school for degree that would help because I have loans. Any recommendations? This is not right that people who graduated before that time is not included!
September 26, 2020
I attended University of Phoenix from 2005-2015. I was misled to believe that I would be high level position after my bachelors and masters degree but I was left with a debt.
September 26, 2020
I attended UOP from 2011-1016. I was promised career connections with companies, advised on how much money I was going to make etc. Our campus always asked about job fairs and recruitment opportunities. We were usually pushed to the side however we were always encouraged to move forward to the next degree. I received no help as promised then the campus closes in the blink of an eye. They left me and others high and dry.
September 26, 2020
I also heard about the job promises when I signed up to attend UOP. The financial aid advisor handled all of the financial issues, as far as aid was concerned; I couldn't believe how easy it was to become a student at this school. Two other schools I wanted to attend required testing before entering as an entry level student, and I had to wait for confirmation that I was accepted to attend. UOP was so easy to get in, that I almost started instantly after filling out one application. Everything else was taking care of by my financial advisor and academic advisor. I really didn't understand the trouble I was getting myself into with the loans, because they made it sound so good. I received my associate's degree, and I still have yet to finish my bachelor's degree due to life situations. I was on unemployment for 9 months, through receiving my associate's degree, filled out applications at several hospitals, yet noone would hire me. I finally got a job on my own at the post office, and I have been there for 7 years. So much for my schooling adding up to $50,000 plus.
September 26, 2020
I was one that they told me the classes I wanted were going to be all I needed to get a counselor’s license. They lied.
September 27, 2020
So how soon or have they and still in correspondence with people. I was a student at the time.
Shelley T
September 27, 2020
I attended uop on line so I could get job opportunities they advertised. I attended between Aug. 2011 to June 2016. I too had some calls and dismissed them as a scam. I do not recall any email being sent to me. All I know is that I don't work as an accountant which was my major I do work at a tax office that pays just over minimum wage. Would like to know if I qualify for this.