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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


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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.

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Gypsybluebrei
April 15, 2021
I attended from 2010 -2012 gor my AA and started a BS in 2013. I have not been contacted. I have $40,000 in loans. I dont owe the school any money. Their propaganda went even further yhan just an ad campaign, it was littered in the ciriculuum as well!!! Your academic team also pushed the false propaganda that this education would unlock opportunities. It never has. In all honesty, I'm not sure it even looks good on my resume.
Mikesha
April 16, 2021
I was also a victim of UOP and I now have loans totalling up to 142k. I am not utilizing my MBA degree due to the inability to find a job in the field in which I studied. I can't even purchase a home due to my DTI ratio. I feel like I wasted my entire life going to school at UOP for 6.5 years to make a better life for my family and now I am stuck.. what can the students do that were enrolled prior to the proposed eligibility dates mentioned??? Do we have to suffer for the rest of our lives?? I feel cheated.
Mizred
April 17, 2021
I was one of the students who attended the University of Phoenix and believed what they told us. I am very sad that this school chose to deceive so many of us. Even when trying to obtain information regarding the issues I experienced while attending this university I was met with denials and was unable to get truthful information.
Upset mom
May 03, 2021
I attended during that time and all I have is debt. No one will hire me. My so called diploma is useless. The classes aren’t even close to what I need. Now I have a huge amount of debt and nothing to show for it. How do I become part of the suit. This school is a joke.
Anthony$93
May 11, 2021
After readying several post people. I’m trying to set up account, so I can get added to the list.
FTC Staff
May 11, 2021

In reply to by Anthony$93

For information about the FTC payments to students. go to www.FTC.gov/UoP.

edith2sweet
May 12, 2021
I was enrolled at the university of phoenix also for two years and everything that was promised did not happen, and I was not notified about the lawsuit so once again I lose. My student loan is still on my credit report.
file a complai…
May 21, 2021
**File a complaint!! instead of posting and asking questions that will never be answered, they wont do anything until enough people show cause. let's start this movement now! We should all request the financial records of our time at UOP. get all documentation. then file a complaint with FTC. I went to school at UOP 2006-2008 and 2008-2011 my first degree was a little under 19,000. why is the bachelors degree loan amount over 60,000? with over 20,000 in Grants not factored. They deceitfully refunded the grants to be able to apply for Students loans. I am awaiting my records from them now. I will bet if we all show the deception from prior to 2012- the FTC will need to look further.
shan
July 14, 2021

In reply to by file a complai…

I'm with you. EVERYONE let's get them to go back and forgive all loans from this institution. They took our money and we have a degree that is WORTHLESS. I'm willing to do my part and the more of us there is we can get the FTC to look into them. They really should because they are stealing from innocent people that tired to better their lives by returning back to school. Instead we inquired more debt than anything. This is SAD!!!!
LYNN CANN
May 24, 2021
Finish a year of college and never found a job in that field
mwright16
May 26, 2021
I attend the UOP and would like more information on how to be consider for this process. I was promised graduation job placement with top tire companies in my area, I was told the school had great graduation rates, After graduation I could expect a mass increase in pay with whomever my employer was, I was never told to expect to be place in a class group setting were over 90% of the class didn't speak English and group projects had to be completed. These are just a few of the deceptive tactics I encountered while attending the UOP. Again if anyone is willing to share how I can become a part of this lawsuit please advise.
Tgirl
June 02, 2021
Will there be another lawsuit against University of Phoenix. I still believe that advises jobs and stated that they can help you find a job. I just currently graduated with my Master and still don't have a job. The student loans are way higher then any other University I been to. Why is that?
Libbye
June 02, 2021
I was one of many students that was promised a job. I completed my associates degree in healthcare administration. I was homeless for 2 years after graduation and relocated to CA. The receptionist at a local church helped me to get a job at CCA exchange. I didn't make much but I'm no longer homeless. University of Phoenix never helped with resume preps or job leads , or searches. I'm so disappointed. I need my 42+ thousand dollars loan cancelled.
Rowan 9890
June 22, 2021
I was one of the people that believed their false advertising, got my masters degree in health administration. This did not influence or benefit me at all in the job market. I have been unable find the job they promised. I have over 80k in student debt . 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”
Kwaller
July 09, 2021
Hello I am also one of the people who attended there online school and owe a lot of money in loans now can I get some of that settlement to pay off my student loans.
jlo
July 09, 2021
I was never able to use my transcript no other college here would except it. I felt like a loser. One manage told me the degree wasn't worth the paper it was printed on. So sad and mislead.
Cindy Webster
July 11, 2021
I attended the University of Phoenix from 1999 to 2002 where I graduated with Masters degree in the MAOM program...they were working with the parent company Apollo ( who is currently under investigation) I owe more than 89,000 dollars and currently on an income driven program. Both companies where equally deceptive for misinformation and misrepresentation to help you get jobs in your field of study. The settlement should go further back than 2012, because it's not fair to us if we can't be in on the settlement!!
Jcbrown2004
July 13, 2021
I graduated in 2006 and was promised the same thing that they would help me find a job. Why doesn't this apply to people before 2012 because they did it way back in 2002 also.
Pattyharris
July 15, 2021
Do I get a check
Honulei
July 28, 2021
I am at least $49,000 in debt with University of Phoenix. Someone from the school had helped with applying for FAFSA etc. I cannot even get my official transcripts from this college due to my student loan debt. How do they expect me to ever get ahead in life when I can’t even have these documents? It has been so frustrating and stressing. I can’t progress to any higher paying position without official school transcripts. Will they contact us if the debts are cancelled??
Joe W
August 05, 2021
What about those who first enrolled prior to the 2012 date? Their deceptive practices did not evolve over night. Loan forgiveness is great, what about for those who have paid off their loans or refinanced out of the student loan arena?
willie
August 15, 2021
I attended 2009-2015 did not know the school had not accreditation this is horrible the worst thing is they change my loan without asking me nor did I sign paperwork.
C Roybal
August 31, 2021
I attended 2006/2007 (possibly into 2008). My "degree" was also basically laughed at by many companies. Also, a lot of other schools did not accept transcripts to transfer credits over, AND they wouldn't release transcriptsunless you were on top of their ridiculously high repayment schedule, so further schooling with an accredited college was out of reach. At one point, due to a significant hardship, I made a repayment agreement via forbearance, and that was for $5.00 per month. Really, $5.00. I asked the woman on the phone how this will decrease my loan overall, and about the interest, and she informed me the interest would continue to accrue based on the loan owed, so my $5.00 payment did nothing, my loan grew and grew and grew. It was initially around $20,000 (estimated), and somehow ended up at $28,000 the last I knew. I have no idea what the loan is at this point, and frankly, I don't want to know. I am petrified it's going to be a ridiculous amount of money, and now being disabled, I have no way of working at all, and am terrified to even attempt to try to inquire about this. I, like others, received no letter about this issue. The University of Phoenix admission coordinator I worked with when I signed up did a he'll of a job talking this school up and said it was the absolute best, that it was one of the few offering such deep on-line classes, how most of their graduated students had found great jobs so I shouldn't have had that concern in the back of my head at all. I was given a false sense of complete confidence in this school.
FTC Staff
September 01, 2021

In reply to by C Roybal

You can get  free information from the United States Department of Education about income-driven repayment plans. If you think you have been defrauded or deceived, you can apply for loan forgiveness through the Borrower Defense to Repayment procedures. 

If you're totally and permanently disabled, you might qualify for a discharge of your federal loans. This federal student aid page has more information about that.

Bob
September 06, 2021
I took most of my undergrad classes through uop in the early 2000s. I have not been able to find any cases on these years. Does anyone have info for these years? I'm finally down to 7000ish on student loan debt after having my loans transferred a couple of times of course without permission. On top of that I'm a government employee but because of the last transfer they separated them in order to not be eligible for debt forgiveness. Has anyone seen a case on this?
grantwalker01
September 15, 2021
I attended the university from 1998 they 2009. I got my bachelors degree and enrolled in their mba program. I was forced to take classes I had already taken and when I was done I had double the credits needed for an mba. I had surgery and requested I get approval to stay in the program I was in and they said no and renamed the program and classes so I was forced to take classes I have already taken. My student loans are 134000 which is double what they charged.
Nobi
September 21, 2021
I went to the University of Phoenix online program from 2002 to 2012. I was never told that it was a for-profit school in fact I didn't even know they even existed but I guess they do. I did see several cars from Google, Yahoo, etc, big corporations cars in the parking lot where I would go and get extra classes, but I never realized that was what it was. I never got any payments and I could sure use it I have $70,000 in student loans that I can't pay
LisaAnn
September 27, 2021
I attended UofP from 2009 to 2011 for a Criminal Justice Degree.. I was promised that I would obtain employment a probation officer .UofP did not even offer an internship...Upon graduation I was unable to find employment using my degree. A couple of my classmates I am still in touch with experience the same... Unable to obtain employment using thier CJA Degree from Uof P...I later went on to obtain my masters at a different university.
Mickey
September 30, 2021
I was told by many counselors that Phoenix would help me to find a job if I keep going and receive my Bachelor, Masters & PhD. I did not go for the PhD program after on many attempts to find a job through their so call contacts and alumni. I signed up for alumni contact and nothing every materialized. It was all a bunch of lies that they are still feeding the public through advertising on different social media platforms. I owe the Federal government students loans not Phoenix & my credit is paying the price.
Krystlt
October 28, 2021
$50 million, but I was told we only get 4% of what our cost was which is around $500 ?! Really?! I’m $20K in debt for waisting my time at this school and then lying and all I get is $500?! I also read how the remainder of any left over funds stays with the FTC, how is that fair?! I mean $141 million?! That should be used to cancel every persons debt. How much do you want to guarantee the majority of that money stays with the FTC, while we are stuck 30 years paying for horrible education that FTC is suppose to protect us from. If you ask me this means nothing to those who were affected.
FTC Staff
November 02, 2021

In reply to by Krystlt

In March 2021, the FTC sent payments totaling nearly $50 million to more than 147,000 University of Phoenix (UOP) students who may have been lured by allegedly deceptive advertisements.

This FTC press release explains the FTC settlement with UOP. The settlement required UOP to pay $50 million to the Commission. That $50 million was used to send payments to UOP students.

The settlement also required UOP to cancel approximately $141 million in debts owed to UOP by former students who first enrolled during the time period people were likely exposed to UOP’s deceptive advertising.

Klemongello
November 19, 2021
This happened to me! Why haven't I been contacted? I have filed mulitple cases and provided information but the school has not reached out. I did have a lawyer contact me last year and I filled out the paperwork he requested on the studenaide.gov website. I have a pending case but no updates. How do I find out if i am listed with this lawsuit
Overcomer86
January 03, 2022
I graduated in 2012 and have over 45,000 in loans from an associates degree. I lacked knowledge on the difference between an AA and an AS degree until I got close to graduation and called in concern on my externship , to find “ I don’t get assigned to one” that I had to find my own . I’m ashamed to say how much I make an hour at my main job .The amount of loans I have , you’d think I have a masters degree.
Tyedye
January 03, 2022
So I enrolled in 2007, graduated in 2010. Was given the whole speech about top rated jobs, employment services available with lists of top companies hire ring UOP grads and cheaper course rates. Am I not eligible under this settlement?
Laura
January 13, 2022
What is really upsetting to me is that I began classes in the associates program in 2009 and continued through the bachelor's program then to the master's program. I graduated in 2015 with my MBA but because I started in 2009, I don't qualify for the funds. I was still ripped off and have $137K in student loan debt from being over charged.
darthmak2493
February 03, 2022
was lied to put in classes that did not even meet requirements and now they are saying I owe them 2 grand or they will not let me continue yet they took my financial aid. I want my money back!
Jennifer
June 03, 2022

I am over my head in debt at University of Phoenix. I attended 200-2010 and earned a degree.
I have never been able to land a job with my degree. Am I eligible to apply for a loan discharge. I feel I was mislead about the opportunities I would have after completing my degree.