California college gets fined $30 million for allegedly lying about terrible job prospects

Screen Shot 2015 04 14 at 6.44.27 PMDepartment of EducationA fine letter was sent to Heald College by the DOE on Wednesday.

The Department of Education (DOE) notified Heald College San Francisco on Tuesday that it would be fined $US29,665,000 for misrepresenting the kinds of jobs its graduates could get to the DOE.

In one striking example, Heald — which is part of the beleaguered Corinthian Colleges Inc. — allegedly counted an accounting major as employed in her field when she only had a job at Taco Bell.

The letter details specific ways Heald allegedly misrepresented job placement figures including the omission of essential information about methodology for calculating placement rates and paying temp agencies to employ its grads in unsustainable jobs.

This fine is just the newest blow for the for-profit college system.

Prior to 2014, Corinthian Colleges Inc. was a network of more than 100 schools and one of the largest for-profit college companies in the US. But numerous investigations and lawsuits alleging wrongdoing against the company rapidly decreased its size. In July 2014, an agreement with the US Department of Education (DOE) forced Corinthian to sell 85 of its schools and close another 12.

After litigation was brought against the company and many of the colleges closed, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) and the DOE worked together to secure $US480 million in debt relief to students of Corinthian.

And recently, a group of debt strikers called the Corinthian 100 met with the DOE in Washington to discuss abuses by the college and demand the extinguishment of their federal student loans.

Corinthian issued this statement: “These highly questionable, unsubstantiated allegations by the U.S. Department of Education regarding Heald College should not be allowed to shift focus away from the central fact that Heald has a well-documented track record of providing quality education and significant value to its students for more than 150 years.”

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