U of Phoenix Ad

University of Phoenix pays $50 million, cancels $141 million in student debt to settle deceptive advertising dispute

Dec. 12, 2019
The Federal Trade Commission alleged that the for-profit university falsely claimed it had relationships with prominent companies.

The University of Phoenix and its parent company, Apollo Education Group, Inc., have agreed to pay $50 million in cash and cancel $141 million in student debt to settle allegations of deceptive advertising.

The Federal Trade Commission says in a news release that the for-profit university falsely claimed that their relationships with top companies created job opportunities specifically for Phoenix students and deceptively claimed they worked with these companies to develop courses. 

In the advertising, touted its relationships and prospective job opportunities with companies such as AT&T, Yahoo!, Microsoft, Twitter, and The American Red Cross.

The FTC says the school used a multimedia ad campaign to attract students, including ads specifically targeted to military and Hispanic consumers. The “Let’s Get to Work” campaign gave the false impression that the University of Phoenix worked with those companies to create job opportunities for its students.

As part of the settlement, the university and Apollo will return $50 million in cash to former students and cancel $141 million in student debt owed directly to the school.

The proposed settlement requires the school to ask consumer reporting agencies to delete the debts from people’s credit reports, give notice to those who got debt cancellation, and make sure people have access to their diplomas and transcripts.

VIDEO: A University of Phoenix “Let’s Get to Work” ad that the FTC says is deceptive.

About the Author

Mike Kennedy | Senior Editor

Mike Kennedy, senior editor, has written for AS&U on a wide range of educational issues since 1999.

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