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Atty General SUES Westwood College over their law enforcement program

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  • Atty General SUES Westwood College over their law enforcement program

    I have warned people on this forum against going to Westwood College multiple times in the past, for this very reason. Finally, maybe justice will be served.


    The following text is from the AG's website at http://www.illinoisattorneygeneral.g.../20120118.html

    MADIGAN SUES NATIONAL FOR-PROFIT COLLEGE

    Westwood College Used Deceptive Marketing to Lure Students into Thousands in Debt, Limited Job Opportunities

    Chicago — Attorney General Lisa Madigan today filed a lawsuit against the national, for-profit college Westwood for engaging in deceptive practices that left Chicago area students with up to $70,000 each in debt for degrees that failed to qualify them for careers in criminal justice.

    Madigan’s lawsuit alleges that, through marketing its criminal justice program, Westwood falsely convinced students they could pursue a law enforcement career with agencies such as the Chicago Police Department, Illinois State Police and suburban police departments, even though those employers don’t recognize a Westwood degree due to its lack of regional accreditation.

    Many students learned only after graduation—and after racking up thousands in student loan debt—that their degrees would not land them the law enforcement jobs they originally sought. Additionally, because Westwood isn’t recognized by regionally accredited colleges, students found they couldn’t transfer their coursework to alternative programs to complete a degree. Lacking a regionally accredited degree and unable to transfer their coursework, Westwood students were left saddled with anywhere from $50,000 to $70,000 in student loan debt.

    “Westwood officials lied to potential students about almost every aspect of its criminal justice program, from its exorbitant costs to a graduate’s slim career prospects,” Madigan said. “Now, many of these students are left with thousands in debt in exchange for a college degree that has very little value in the real world.”

    The Attorney General filed the lawsuit earlier today in Cook County Circuit Court, alleging numerous violations of the state’s Consumer Fraud and Deceptive Business Practices Act. Westwood College has campuses in Chicago’s Loop, Woodridge and Calumet City, in addition to campuses in five other states.

    Madigan additionally alleges the college engaged in deceptive advertising. Westwood regularly promoted its criminal justice program in television and radio ads that depicted its graduates posing as police officers, in spite of its accreditation status that prevented students from obtaining such jobs. Westwood also deceptively advertised online by purchasing search terms such as “Regionally Accredited Colleges” and “Become a Police Officer in Chicago” and “State Trooper College.” When users searched for those terms, links to Westwood College would appear at the top of their search engine results, giving the false impression that a Westwood degree was regionally accredited and recognized by agencies including the Chicago Police Department and Illinois State Police.

    The lawsuit also alleges that Westwood downplayed the ultimate total cost of attending the college and failed to provide students with sufficient information about their loans. Westwood is typically more expensive than most community colleges or state universities, with 2012 tuition rates for a Bachelor’s of Applied Science totaling more than $71,000. Madigan said that when government and private loans did not cover a student’s cost, Westwood financed the student’s balance at exceedingly high interest rates – as much as 18 percent – and financial aid officers misrepresented the terms of the financing.

    Over 100 students from Cook, DuPage, Kane and Ogle counties have complained to the Attorney General’s office and the Chicago Better Business Bureau.

    Madigan’s lawsuit seeks to rescind contracts between current and former students and Westwood that are found to be unlawful and provide restitution to those students. The lawsuit seeks to shut down the defendant’s Criminal Justice Program. The suit also seeks to impose on Westwood civil penalties based on violations of Illinois law.

    Today’s lawsuit is Attorney General Madigan’s latest effort to crack down on fraudulent and deceptive practices in the for-profit college industry. In 2011, Madigan filed a complaint in a whistleblower suit against Education Management Corporation and the Illinois Institutes of Art in Chicago and Schaumburg for allegedly incentivizing admissions recruiters based on enrollment numbers and thereby defrauding the state of education grant dollars. Earlier, in 2007, Madigan reached a settlement with Illinois-based DeVry University and Career Education Corporation concerning student loan practices involving the schools and lenders. The settlements required the schools to adopt a College Code of Conduct and to return the money paid by lenders to schools.

    Current and former students of Westwood College seeking more information should contact Madigan’s Consumer Fraud Hotline, (800) 386-5438.

    Assistant Attorneys General Akeela White, Colleen Bisher, Michele Casey, Greg Grzeskiewicz and Kevin Hudspeth are handling this case for Madigan’s Consumer Fraud Bureau.
    "Well I'd lock him up for what we know he did, and then throw in a few extra years for what he probably did." ~Hank Hill

    "Why do you need to carry a gun? There aren't any bad people in this town..."

  • #2
    Like you, I have had several students apply to my department for an internship or employment. Each time, I explained that just because Westwood College says that they are accredited, it does not mean that they are accredited by the State of Illinois as a legitimate college. Most applicants leave disappointment and really did not want to believe me. At one point, Westwood College wanted me to teach a Criminal Justice class at their college. I told them that I would be happy to, but they needed to know that at each class I would explain to the students that the college was not accredited and their degeee would not be recognized by most empoyers. I never heard back from Westwood College. It is truly a shame that this happened for so long. I am glad to see that the State of Illinois is finally taking action.

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    • #3
      Bout time. I hope they are forced to pay back all of that tuition wasted.

      Comment


      • #4
        Glad someone finally did something about these "Career guaranteeing" colleges. Who is gonna notice the 8 pt font at the bottom of the tv saying "Classes may not transfer to 4 year school", or "Westwood is a nationally accredited school".
        Hopefully the students can get back the money they spent, but all that time wasted....

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        • #5
          Isn't ITT tech cj program a scam too? I see their commercials sometimes

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          • #6
            My wife used to work for another "for profit" university. She would come home and vent her frustration because people with criminal records and felonies would call and enter the criminal justice program because they wanted to be police. The "college" would tell her to encourage them to do criminal justice because it will help them get a career as a police officer, even though she couldn't promise employment. She got out of that place A.S.A.P.

            There was a multitude of other problems. The school basically took everyone that had a government sponsored education (military, poor families, etc.) and fooled them into thinking they were getting education from an accredited place.

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            • #7
              This needs to be a sticky.

              I put ITT in the same boat. I was able to talk a kid out of going there before he blew too much money.

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              • #8
                Yes I am going to request a sticky. Not because it's my post, but because I SO want to save people the DISASTER that these students face.

                As a side note, I myself attended Westwood for 2 or 3 trimesters before I got wind of their shady accreditation. I dropped out IMMEDIATELY and thankfully was able to get a 4-yr degree from a real college instead. But that was after blowing over $10,000 on useless classes.
                "Well I'd lock him up for what we know he did, and then throw in a few extra years for what he probably did." ~Hank Hill

                "Why do you need to carry a gun? There aren't any bad people in this town..."

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                • #9
                  I see these idiotic commercials for these "colleges" all day long on TV. It's a shame that people get sucked into thinking that these places will get them employed as a P/O.

                  $10K is what it would cost for an Associates Degree, with books, at your local accredited Community College. At least then, you would meet the education requirements for most of the PD's testing.

                  Good post , Ten-32.

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                  • #10
                    So sorry for you, Ten.
                    My kid wanted to go there with his GI bill funds and I argued my butt off with him about their accreditation. Wasn't until he point blank talked to Chicago PD and asked outright if they accepted Westwood's degree that he told the admissions clerk to tear up his application. Fortunately, before he signed on the bottom line and wasted years of his life.
                    Last edited by popspd; 01-21-2012, 01:58 PM.
                    Why u asking me? I don't have a clue!! I'm just a know-it-all 'cause I've been there, done that, got the t-shirt to prove it!

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by popspd View Post
                      So sorry for you, Ten.
                      Thanks, but don't be! After my Westwood debacle I was very blessed that I was able to attend a 4-yr school under a federal grant - didn't pay a dime except for books. I don't say this to brag, but only to say that things weren't that bad for me - not nearly as bad as people who actually put in the whole 3-4 years and $70k only to find out it was all for nothing.
                      "Well I'd lock him up for what we know he did, and then throw in a few extra years for what he probably did." ~Hank Hill

                      "Why do you need to carry a gun? There aren't any bad people in this town..."

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Ten-32 View Post
                        Thanks, but don't be! After my Westwood debacle I was very blessed that I was able to attend a 4-yr school under a federal grant - didn't pay a dime except for books. I don't say this to brag, but only to say that things weren't that bad for me - not nearly as bad as people who actually put in the whole 3-4 years and $70k only to find out it was all for nothing.
                        Sure hope Madigan will be able to recover the losses for these kids. It's hard enough for this generation to get anywhere in this god-awful economy. Also, I sure hope they smack 'em with criminal charges!
                        The VA should take a look, too so that those who used their GI bill monies get them put back into their til. I'd be all for the Feds to hang 'em high!
                        Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrr...this makes me sooooooo mad!
                        Why u asking me? I don't have a clue!! I'm just a know-it-all 'cause I've been there, done that, got the t-shirt to prove it!

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          I LOVE their job guarantee! They will help pay your bills!!! LOL! It's a stinking $500 FOR ONLY 6 MONTHS! That's not even going to pay your rent! It wouldn't surprise me also that you have to turn in a ton of paper work 1 or 2 times a week just to collect that money!

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                          • #14
                            I parrot what others have said in regards to this and several similar “colleges”. I feel bad for folks who get burned but also wonder why they didn’t first take a course in Google:

                            http://www.google.com/search?q=westw...=0&aqi=g1&aql=

                            http://www.google.com/search?q=itt+c...aq=f&aqi=&aql=

                            http://www.google.com/search?q=evere...&aqi=g-c1&aql=

                            Folks will spend weeks to months researching a car or even a pair of boots, yet blindly sign up for an 80k+ debt without evaluating a school.
                            Originally posted by SSD
                            It has long been the tradition on this forum and as well as professionally not to second guess or Monday morning QB the officer's who were actually on-scene and had to make the decision. That being said, I don't think that your discussion will go very far on this board.
                            Originally posted by Iowa #1603
                            And now you are arguing about not arguing..................

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              "Folks will spend weeks to months researching a car or even a pair of boots, yet blindly sign up for an 80k+ debt without evaluating a school. "

                              Sad, but true.

                              Comment

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