For-profit College recruitment fraud
Salter College a for profit institution in Massachusetts and its parent company will pay over $1.6 million in debt relief following allegations that it did not provide “critical information” on job placement, loan repayment and graduation rates at its now-shuttered Fall River campus and others throughout the state. Attorney General Maura Healey’s office said that the school, which has since closed its Fall River property, violated state law by not providing information to students. An assurance of discontinuance was filed by Healey’s office in Suffolk Superior Court this week, alleging the parent company Premier Education Group violated for-profit and occupation school regulations intended to protect students from deceptive and unfair practices.
“Salter College misled students and deprived them of the information they needed to make informed choices about their education,” Healey said in a statement. “This settlement will provide students the relief they deserve and stop this predatory for-profit school from doing business in our state.”
The settlement, according to Healey’s office, will force Premier Education Group to pay $100,000 to the state and discharge $1.6 million in debts that certain students still owe to Premier’s schools, as well as seek to have student credit reports “wiped clean” from negative reporting regarding the debts.
Premier will no longer be able to enroll Massachusetts students and is required to wind down all Massachusetts operations by the end of the year.
Healey’s office specified that this case relates to students who attended Salter locations in Fall River and Malden, Salter College in West Boylston and Chicopee, and the Brandford Hall Career Institute in Springfield between April 1, 2016, and March 31, 2018.
The Salter School had already been ordered to pay $3.75 million to settle allegations of misrepresenting job placement numbers and using deceptive enrollment tactics in 2014 by then Attorney General Martha Coakley.
At the time, Coakley remarked that the company’s Fall River, New Bedford and West Boylston locations had “used misleading recruitment tactics in order to obtain tuition payments and fees from students looking to further their education.”
Premier Education Group CEO Gary Camp refuted the allegations in 2015. “While we dispute the AG’s allegations, we insisted that the resolution of this matter directly benefit our current and former students over the long term,” Camo said.
Premier Education Group accepted a settlement with the state’s Department of Professional Licensure in 2016 without admitting wrongdoing. An investigation conducted by DPL alleged that Premier had published misleading graduate job placement statistics, employed instructors whose qualifications had not been approved by DPL and used misleading and “high-pressure” tactics in recruiting new students.
The company’s Fall River and New Bedford locations have closed, but its schools in West Boylston and Malden remain open.