Trade school fraud: Kaplan schools in the news

The New York Times reports here on the Kaplan schools woes.  The Times goes to great lengths to note that its competitor, The Washington Post, owns Kaplan.  I suppose some might see it as a dig and turn of the knife, but it strikes me as appropriate because it helps explain how the owners of the  Post lobby against trade school regulation.

The article focused on the Kaplan criminal justice degree program. I was struck by this quote from a former Kaplan insider:

“In reality *** , graduates would often get the same $8 to $9-an-hour security guard jobs they could have had without Kaplan training.”

It sounds awfully familiar, as it is the same thing we’ve seen repeatedly in our consumer class action against Western Culinary Institute/Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts-Portland.  There is so much more about it that is insidious, including absorbing federal dollars that would otherwise go to student aid.

The for-profits spend a boatload of money on marketing and advertising. That money comes from tuition, and tuition dollars come straight out of the treasury.

It’s a lousy deal.

We’re still pushing forward on the culinary school case. Nice to see that responsible journalists are reporting on abusive trade schools. As for the Washington Post, you have to wonder.

Devina Molette says

I am enrolled in an evening class at a trade school by the name of West Tech in Moreno Valley CA. I am studying to become a Medical assistant. I have been enrolled for five months in a nine month program.
My school recently went under some internal changes. During these internal changes I feel as if my education is being compromised. When I have completed my course I will owe approximately 14,000.
My concerns started a month ago when our instructor informed our class she will no longer be our teacher. She will have to take over another class.
When we arrived to school the next day we were informed our instructor would be our lab instructor. This gentleman was not credential to teach Medical Assisting; he in fact was a Phlebotomist.
Moving forward, our instructor we were given; we will call him Mr. Tee. Mr. Tee gave a class lecture, for Medical software. This programed is used for medical billing purposes, scheduling patients, setting appointment etc. Mr. Tee could not pronounce words, he could not answer questions pertaining to the lecture and he informed us he would have to contact another teacher by cell or text message so he could obtain answers to our questions.
Week two when the text was given, only two people in the class passed the text, myself and another older lady, everyone in the class fail the test. My score was a 76 the other lady was a 73 which are C’s.
Week three, we are to read a certain amount of chapters and we are to start entering data into the computer system.
Our instructor has never used this medical program he was not able to teach us the program. We had to teach our self the program considering book work is worth 200 points and computer work is worth an additional 200 points.
Within this week one of the students have a melt down because did not know what she was doing, she had questions for the instructor the instructor could not answer them. The school administration had him setting up tables in another building for a Refer a Friend get together the school conducted to obtain additional students.
In the course of this week our Instructor was terminated and we are given another teacher from the day class she was able to help us for the time she was there, which in fact was that day and that day only.
We came to school the next day, we had another instructor that was actually the person over the Student Services department.
When we return to school we have a new instructor. She is a really great person she is told to be some wiz in the Med iSOFT program. The catch is she is a Medical Biller not a Medical Assistant she is not credentialed to teach us, she is learning with us.
I just found they are withholding my financial aide funds for additional month claiming they need do some sort of research. CAN YOU PLEASE HELP!

David Sugerman says

I'm afraid I'm not licensed in California, so I can't provide assistance. Try using the National Association of Consumer Advocates website,, to search for a California attorney who handles consumer matters. Good luck.

Ondra says

I also went to kaplan back in 2008. I also had to do work that medical assistants were suppose to be doing as well as Medical billing which was the course that I was doing. I finished school and did my internship but they put me in a place that didn't have medical billing and I told the school counselor that as well as the place I was doing my internship but they didn't do anything about it. Now that I've graduated back in 2009. I'm in debt now for trying to get a higher education and the school failed me. What can I do now? Any suggestions on how to try and get my debt disappeared since the school has failed

David Sugerman says

I suggest you look for an attorney in your state who focuses on student loan debt. The National Association of Consumer Attorneys is a good source. I've provided the link to their attorney search system.

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