A settlement reached in December 2014 with Salter College means that more than 600 of its former students will finally be free from their massive student loan debts. The settlement requires Salter to pay over $3.75 million towards former students’ federal financial aid loans and $250,000 towards private student loans. This came as a result of claims that the school seriously inflated its employment rates on successful completion of their programs. This has been the largest settlement by that date as a result of investigations launched by Attorney General Coakley in the for-profit education sector.
Claims that Salter used misleading and predatory practices to entice and trick students into enrolling in what they thought would land them gainful employment ended with unemployed graduates unable to pay off their loans. The school’s main interest was getting their hands on federal and private student loan money and not providing high quality educational services which would lead to gainful employment. The settlement affects those who attended health related programs at Salter’s New Bedford, Fall River, and West Boylston locations.
Inflated job placement success was presented to prospective students in the medical assistant, health claims specialist, and medical billing and coding programs which led students to believe they wouldn’t have any problems finding a job when they were through. The school claimed as high as 80% job placement rates but the real numbers come nowhere close to this as students were listed as successfully employed in their field even if they worked part-time, for temp agencies, and in unrelated fields.
Enrollment officials gave students the impression that the school was quite exclusive in who it enrolled and that due to limited seats they must sign up immediately or lose their spot. This meant that many students were not able to properly check out claims made by the school, did not understand the documents they were signing or have time to read them over, and felt they may lose their chance at an education. In reality, the school allowed anyone to enroll who met their criteria, that being that they had high school equivalency and could be approved for federal student financial aid.
Externships advertised by Salter were also not as they promised. The school’s advertising and enrollment officials stated externship was a requirement and would be arranged by the school. The majority of students ended up having to find their own externship hosts which caused significant delays in the completion of their programs. These externships were also indicated as being how students would find their employment after graduating and that most students found employment this way. In reality, little to no students found jobs with externship hosts.
An additional portion of the settlement states that Salter must accurately disclose in all its advertising and enrollment meetings their actual certification, admissions standards, job placement success and job listings, and ensure job placement assistance services are in place for students to actually find jobs in their field of study.
While this may end a financial nightmare for students in part, it doesn’t end the hardship entirely. Students are now left with useless degrees and would need to attend schooling again in order to achieve proper certifications, would have to lose countless hours studying and writing exams or papers, and lose a lot of time and money they could be earning in the work place while doing it.
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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.