A new lawsuit in Minnesota accuses a major for-profit college of duping students into spending thousands of dollars on degrees that weren’t accredited for the jobs they wanted.
Minnesota Attorney General Lori Swanson announced Tuesday that the state will be pursuing claims against Globe University and its sister school, the Minnesota School of Business.
Swanson accused the schools of using high-pressure tactics “reminiscent of sales boiler rooms” to swindle prospective students. The school’s recruiting team, she said, “train[ed] representatives not to take ‘no’ for an answer” and exploited their dreams to lure them into pursuing degrees that didn’t qualify them for the careers they desired. In the end, she said, students were left with tens of thousands of dollars in debt without being any closer to a job.
One example of Globe’s duplicity, Swanson said, is how it lured in students who wanted to become police officers. Minnesota law requires that prospective officers graduate from a school with proper regional accreditation. Globe, however, lacks such an accreditation, meaning that its criminal justice degrees are invalid for students seeking to join police forces in the state.
Similarly, Swanson accused Globe of convincing students to enroll in a two-year program to become parole officers, when a four-year degree is needed to earn such a job.
“It isn’t right for students whose goal is to protect and defend the public as police officers to be sold a degree that doesn’t even allow them to become a police officer in Minnesota,” said Swanson in a press release.
At one point during a news conference announcing the suits, Swanson played a clip from the recent film “The Wolf of Wall Street” in which Leonardo DiCaprio, playing a penny stock kingpin, explains how to scam individuals with aggressive sales tactics.
To be successful, DiCaprio says, one makes a compelling pitch, “and then you wait, and whoever speaks first loses.” Globe’s training is nearly identical, Swanson said.
“When you ask the question at the final close, remain silent. The next one who speaks loses,” says a Globe guide for recruiters.
The Globe University system has approximately ten thousand students, spread across the northern Midwest, with 12 campuses in Minnesota.
Globe quickly moved to defend itself, saying it engaged in no wrongdoing.
“It disappoints us that even one student has something unfavorable to say about our colleges,” the school said in a statement. “[B]efore any students enroll, our admissions representatives state that our criminal justice program does not fulfill Minnesota Peace Officer Standards and Training requirements needed to become a police officer,” the school said in a statement.
Swanson pointed out that Globe has faced numerous legal troubles in recent years. Last year, a jury awarded a former dean at the school $400,000 after she claimed she was fired for expressing concerns that the school’s recruitment practices were unethical.
Increasing pressure has been brought against for-profit schools around the country in recent years, as student loan debt becomes an increasingly salient issue. Recently, Corinthian Colleges Inc., one of the nation’s largest for-profit college networks, abruptly collapsed after a federal investigation into possible falsification of graduate job prospects led to federal student loans to the school being cut off.
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