California Attorney General Kamala Harris.
California Attorney General Kamala Harris has filed suit against Santa Ana-based Corinthian Colleges (CCI), alleging the for-profit institution of "false and predatory advertising, intentional misrepresentation to students, securities fraud, and unlawful use of military seals," according to a press release from the attorney general's office.
Among the many complaints included in the suit, CCI is alleged to have run millions of online and mobile advertisements touting technician training programs in ultrasound, x-ray, radiology, and dialysis at its California campuses -- when, in fact, the institution does not offer any of these programs, the release states. CCI's call center agents are disciplined if they tell callers that CCI does not offer these programs.
Corinthian Colleges operates 24 Everest, Heald, and WyoTech campuses in California; 111 campuses total in North America; and three online programs. Among the approximately 81,000 students attending CCI colleges, 33% are in California, according to the attorney general's office. The average tuition for a CCI associate's degree is $40,000 and the average tuition for an online CCI associate's degree is $34,000. The average tuition for CCI's nondegree healthcare programs is $17,000.
According to the complaint, CCI's "predatory" marketing efforts specifically target vulnerable, low-income job seekers and single parents who have annual incomes near the federal poverty line, the release states. An internal CCI document obtained by the Department of Justice describes the firm's target demographic as "isolated," "impatient" individuals with "low self-esteem," who have "few people in their lives who care about them" and who are "stuck" and "unable to see and plan well for future."
The complaint also alleges that CCI committed securities fraud by misrepresenting its nationwide job placement rate to investors.
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