In 2010, AEM wrote about a Kaplan campus that was hit with a lawsuit in Pennsylvania by a former, high-ranking employee named David Goodstein. The case was about a 'never-ending' program, which was not based upon the lovable 1980s fantasy flick for kids.
Goodstein alleged that Kaplan's surgical-technology program was fraudulent. He argued that the program lured students into taking out student loans for a program that had no end. Once the students reached completion, it was impossible to graduate. In order to receive their degree, the students were expected to do 'externships.' The problem was, the externships didn't exist for the students.
The case was settled for $1.6 million in 2011, and AEM had an exclusive interview with Goodstein afterwards. (As noted in that interview, it was remarkable that the students were reimbursed. In similar cases, students rarely receive any money back, so this was quite a victory).
There is more bad news again for Kaplan. But that means good news for students. Yesterday, Ames Alexander at the Charlotte Observer reported that Kaplan college will reimburse students who had been enrolled in a dental program at the school's Charlotte campus. Ames writes: "[The] campus has surrendered its license to operate a dental assistant program following allegations that its officials lied to students about the credentials they'd receive after graduating."
The year-long program costs $18,000 a year. That just covers tuition and basic fees. Kaplan, according to AMes, has refunded 200 students so far for tuition, the cost of books, and other miscellaneous fees.
AEM's conclusion about Kaplan and other for-profits:
These schools, that oftentimes dot highway exits in suburbia and exurbia, aren't worth it. If you want to get some sort of technical degree, I beg you to do a little research on your local community college. If you're determined to go to school, set up a meeting with people at that school. Get to know the instructors, and learn about the costs of taking coursework AT A COMMUNITY COLLEGE.
Here are the reasons why I urge you to go to a community college over a for-profit:
(a) the cost of tuition will be significantly cheaper
(b) you'll also get great instructors
(c) local businesses will respect the certification and/or degree far more
(d) if you decide to pursue a degree at a 4-year university or college, the credits you earned at the community college can be easily transferred
That said, I am not bashing the quality of teaching at a for-profit. But I am denouncing their number one goal: to make money - this should not be the goal for higher education institutions. Period. If you are a student at one of these schools, rest assured, you are a walking DOLLAR BILL. (The non-profits are a mess of a problem, too, and I've said many, many times).
As for these students at Kaplan College in Charlotte, N.C., it's good to hear that they've gotten their money back and that the school has lost its license to operate this dental assistant program.
It's a win for the indentured educated class!