Westwood College has faced lawsuits concerning allegations that the school ripped off its students. The school used high-pressure enrollment and sales tactics, deceptive marking that was misleading, and promised students lucrative salaries and successful job placements in order to get them to enroll.
One such student, Krystle Bernal is part of a class action suit against Westwood and claims that recruiters and enrollment officers used high pressure sales tactics and manipulation tactics in order to convince her to join. Krystle was hesitant to sign up and was told by school officials she just wasn’t truly interested or committed in bettering her life and that she couldn’t be committed enough to go to school.
As another part of their tactics for enrollment, Krystle stated that school officials told her that a Westwood College degree in fashion merchandising would land her a lucrative position earning $65,000 per year within three years of graduating. This “fact” was thrown on the table when Krystal seemed surprised and hesitant at the price tag attached to the program and was told not to worry about coming up with the $75,000 for costs as she would get student loans and be able to pay them back quickly and easily with her salary. Two years after program completion, she was earning part time wages as a bank teller for $12 per hour and has yet to find a job in her field. The school claimed this lawsuit is just a case of a predatory law firm going after them and that they’ve done nothing wrong.
After graduating and finding she wasn’t going to be hired within her field with her education, she decided to visit a community college to inquire about second degree only to find none of her Westwood credits were transferrable. This would mean that Krystle would have had to start off from scratch and all that loan money had been borrowed for nothing. She couldn’t get a job from it and couldn’t further her education with it. It was essentially useless.
A Colorado class action suit claimed Westwood committed fraud and lied to its students in order to gain access to their federal student loans or get them to sign up for higher interest private loans through the school. The school responded by posting a rather lengthy video defense on their website stating that the majority of their students were happy with their education experience and that they’d done nothing wrong. When you consider that at that point over 800 students had contacted the lawfirm representing the class action suit, you’d have to wonder how many had to come forward before they stopped making that claim. The lawsuit was shuffled through various levels of court and the school eventually came to a settlement in some jurisdictions. In total, 12,000-15,000 students are expected to be entitled to receive a portion of that settlement and students have been advised to contact officials to see if they can get in on the settlement.
If you have questions or comments, please chat in the comments below or on the ChallengeStudentDebt Twitter handle.
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.