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Apparently the settlement resulting from their 2005 A lawsuit wasn’t enough for Brooks Institute of Photography. Although the school was forced to pay out approximately $12, 250,000 in settlement for complaints leading all the way back to 1999, it apparently didn’t have any impact on Brooks. More recent lawsuits have been filed against Brooks Institute as well as against lender Sallie Mae by former students who claim that hidden fees suddenly appeared on their loans after their terms changed without their agreement. One such former student stated he found that his already ridiculous loan totally $120, 445 had ballooned to over $227,000 when it defaulted and he became aware of the hidden terms and their changes in addition to unreasonable debt collection fees by collectors.
Students were led to believe that they were pretty well guaranteed jobs upon graduation and students could expect to earn between $50,000-150,000 per year. Considering the median salary for waged photographers is more like $25,000 per year and that Brooks has a 2/3 dropout rate, this was proven to be highly unlikely a result for graduates. Brooks also requires that students begin paying back their loans for tuition within 6 months of walking in the door. This means students going to school full time have to come up with loan payments on tuition of $25,000 per year while still attending and is contrary to the industry standard. Most schools defer loan payments until students have graduated and are out of the program for 6 months. While some individuals state this is in the fine print somewhere, for low-income students, many of which are the first in their family to attend university, the fine print was missed if it did exist.
Investigators discovered that contrary to what Brooks was stating about their job placement and salary expectations, not one graduate from the program was even earning $50,000 per year, let alone anything beyond the lower amount. Photography jobs paying those substantial figures involve additional skills like journalism or communications, business savvy, and connections to get.
With Brooks Institute signing up hundreds of photography students per year in a job market that doesn’t require that many placements, how on earth did they expect all these students to find jobs. Many graduating students found that the photography jobs they could get were the generic type at Walmart or Sears photography centers, earned not much beyond minimum wage, and didn’t require a degree in photography. Flooding the field with hundreds of graduates per year was unlikely to improve those job prospects any…if the students managed to graduate that is.
This school remains open and offers the identical classes, still has seriously overpriced tuition, and 70% or higher job placement success rates. Tuition for similar programs at community colleges and universities is generally less than half the price than this bloated school and its promises.
If you feel you were defrauded by the school you attended or you are being treated poorly as a distressed borrower by your creditors, take the free challenge debt review to find out what options you have regarding your student loans.