Glasgow Daily Times, Glasgow, KY

January 16, 2013

Ky. Attorney General Jack Conway taking aim on for-profit school

By RONNIE ELLIS
CNHI

FRANKFORT — Kentucky’s Attorney General on Wednesday filed suit against Spencerian College, claiming the for-profit school misrepresented its record of placing graduates in jobs.

Jack Conway’s office filed suit in Jefferson Circuit Court against the college that operates two campuses, one in Louisville and another in Lexington, and is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Sullivan University.

The consumer-protection suit is the fourth such suit against for-profit colleges filed by Conway following a two-year investigation of the colleges resulting from student complaints and reviews.

Conway said Spencerian “misrepresented job placement numbers to consumers,” violating Kentucky’s consumer protection laws against “false, deceptive or misleading advertising.”

He said Spencerian claimed 99 percent job placement for students at the Louisville campus and 98 percent placement for students at its Lexington campus and “you turn around and in actual reports to the national accreditor . . . actual rates of 40 to 60 percent.”

“In short, we don’t think Spencerian was telling the truth,” Conway said at a morning press conference. “It provided students with information that it knew was false in hopes of luring them into student loan arrangements.”

Conway cited several placement rates claimed by the college on its website and compared those to actual placement rates reported to accreditors and those field reviews turned up, all of which exceeded the reported rates by “30 to 40 percent.”

“We believe Spencerian was more concerned with signing students up for classes and getting their hands on federal student loan money, state student loan money, than it was in educating students and placing them in jobs,” Conway said.

The suit seeks an injunction to prohibit Spencerian from engaging “in further deceptive trade practices” and fines of $2,000 per violation. Conway said those violations cover about four years during which Spencerian averaged an enrollment of 2,000 students.

For the full story, see the print or e-edition of Thursday's Glasgow Daily Times.