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Settlement to provide over $340K in debt relief to North Dakota students

BISMARCK — The North Dakota Attorney General's Office has announced that 151 North Dakota students will receive more than $340,000 in loan debt relief in a settlement with the for-profit education company, Career Education Corp.

The debt relief is one of a number of conditions included in a national settlement that Career Education Corp. reached earlier this month with Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem and 48 other attorneys general.

Under the terms of the settlement, the company will change its recruiting and enrollment practices and forgo collecting about $493.7 million in debts owed by 179,529 students across the country, according to a news release from Stenehjem's office. Career Education Corp. will also pay $5 million to the states, and North Dakota will collect $40,000.

The attorneys general launched an investigation into the company in January 2014 after receiving complaints from students and a report on for-profit education by the U.S. Senate's Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee. The investigation's findings include that Career Education Corp.:

  • Deceived prospective students about the total cost of enrollment by informing them only about the cost per credit hour, not the total of required credit hours.
  • Misled students about the transferability of credits.
  • Failed to get some programs accredited.
  • Deceived prospective students about the rate that graduates of CEC programs got a job in their field of study.

Illinois-based Career Education Corp. offers courses through American InterContinental University and Colorado Technical University.