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Westwood College Settles With State, $2.5M Goes To Students

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Westwood College (credit: CBS)

Westwood College (credit: CBS)

Investigates
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Investigator Rick Sallinger

DENVER (CBS4) – Students who say they were misled by Westwood College will share in a $4.5 million settlement with the state of Colorado.

The for-profit school will pay $2 million in penalties and another $2.5 million will go to some Westwood students to help pay down their loans.

The settlement involves how Westwood enticed students to sign up and what they paid for their education.

A Westwood recruiter, who asked not to be identified, talked to 4 On Your Side Investigator Rick Sallinger.

“I went home some nights and I thought, ‘My God, what are you doing there?’ But I have a house payment,” the recruiter said.

He said he was provided incentives, including trips and bonuses to sign up students at all costs. It’s a practice Westwood has now stopped.

The recruiter said he felt students were being terribly misled.

“In the financial aid area, specifically,” he said.

A video CBS4 obtained would tell students only part of the story about Westwood’s loan program. It said monthly payments were usually $150, but it didn’t disclose higher rates after graduation.

In 2009 CBS4 sent hidden cameras into the college with people posing as prospective students. They were not given the full picture about the loan payments.

Colorado Attorney General John Suthers’ office conducted an investigation after receiving numerous complaints.

“We found that their student financing scheme was subprime lending that was subject to regulation in our office; and that wasn’t taking place,” Suthers said.

The settlement requires Westwood to disclose the total tuition, provide an audit of employment data of graduates, and record all admission interviews.

Under the settlement Westwood does not admit to any wrongdoing and insists many of the changes required by the attorney general were put in place before the investigation even began.

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