School Refunds: Frequently Asked Questions

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School Refunds: Frequently Asked Questions2020-01-08T18:22:19+00:00

Frequently Asked Questions

DeVry Refunds

DeVry University must give students refunds because of a legal settlement with the U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) after DeVry allegedly ran ads that deceived students about their ability to find jobs in their field of study and their likely income after graduation.

DeVry agreed to forgive $50.6 million in debts, including all private unpaid student loans issued between September 2008 and September 2015. DeVry also agreed to pay $49.4 million to the FTC for partial refunds for students.

You are eligible for a refund if you meet these four criteria:

  • You enrolled for the first time in a bachelor’s or associate’s degree program at DeVry University between January 1, 2008 and October 1, 2015;
  • You paid at least $5,000 with cash, loans, or military benefits;
  • You completed at least one class credit; and
  • You did not yet receive your debt or loan forgiveness as part of this settlement.

The FTC sent out refund checks in in July 2017 and April 2019. The FTC used DeVry’s records to identify students eligible for refunds.

If you think you might be eligible for a refund and your address has changed since attending DeVry, call the FTC refund administrator at 844-578-2645.

If you believe you are eligible for a refund but have not received one, please contact help@vetsedsuccess.org. We provide free help for students like you.

Remember – you never have to pay anyone to file a claim or get a refund. There are lots of scams out there.

What happened with the University of Phoenix?2020-01-06T17:34:03+00:00

The federal government sued the University of Phoenix because it found during an investigation that it had lied to students.

What students qualify for a refund from the The University of Phoenix?2020-01-06T17:37:33+00:00

Students who enrolled between October 1, 2012, and December 31, 2016.

What does the refund from The University of Phoenix include?2020-01-06T17:39:00+00:00

If you owe any money in student loans directly to the University of Phoenix, the university has to erase your debt.

The University of Phoenix is also paying $50 million to the federal government for a relief fund, but the government has not released any information about the fund yet. We will update this FAQ when we learn more.

What if I owe federal student loans from when I attended The University of Phoenix?2020-01-06T17:41:10+00:00

You may qualify for Borrower Defense relief from the Department of Education. Contact help@vetsedsuccess.org and we can help you apply for it.

What if I used my GI Bill at University of Phoenix?2020-01-06T17:42:09+00:00

Unfortunately, VA will not give you back your GI Bill benefits.  We are working with VA and Congress to fix that.

About the Federal Trade Commission’s Investigation & Settlement with the University of Phoenix

FTC Findings

  • Through the use of television, radio, and internet advertisements and other marketing materials, some of which have been part of the “Let’s Get to Work” advertising campaign, Defendants have misrepresented to consumers that: (i) UOP’s relationships with companies, such as Adobe, Microsoft, and Twitter, create career or employment opportunities specifically for UOP students, and (ii) UOP has worked with such companies to develop curriculum. These representations are false or misleading.
  • The “Let’s Get To Work” campaign began in 2012 and amassed over 1 billion social media impressions.

Military and Veterans Were Targeted

  • UOP used “specific advertisements targeting military ….
  • UOP “created and disseminated an advertisement…that claimed UOP’s corporate partnerships…offered hiring programs for UOP students who were veterans. In reality…the companies’ hiring programs were open to all veterans and were not a result of their status as UOP “corporate partners.
  • An internal document involving UOP’s Military Division stated, in reference to obtaining a bachelor’s degree, “Most individuals…assume it will take 4 years. However, if…working full-time or raising a family, it can take up to 14 years on average!” Students were not informed of this.

High-Level Employees Expressed Concerns

  • UOP employees had concerns about the accuracy of the messaging in the ads. A UOP Senior VP described the inclusion of Adobe in an ad as “smoke & mirrors” because “we may do business with them, but nothing academically.
  • A UOP Senior VP informed employees that “the campaign was creating ‘misconceptions,’ including that companies were working with UOP to develop its curriculum,” but UOP was not “working directly with companies one at a time and/or creating custom curriculum based upon their needs.”
  • A UOP Chief Business Operating Officer “admitted that using Twitter in the ad campaign had ‘nothing to do’ with the Workforce Solutions agreement and ‘probably never will.’” 
  • “One UOP employee cautioned that the career message central to the campaign should be emphasized when UOP had the ‘ability to deliver career outcomes’—which it did not have. Similarly, a UOP executive warned that ‘[w]e have to be able to deliver what we promise in the ads.’”
  • UOP’s Vice President of Brand Marketing stated, “We all agree that our current advertising messaging is a bit light on support.
  • “One UOP employee observed that…many of the alumni ‘earned their degree while at the company and remained with the company after obtaining their degree.’” 

Companies Expressed Concern

  • Some companies reacted to the advertising campaign with surprise. For example, Staples asked UOP not to feature the company in the ads, saying, “What is Staples doing as part of this program? The [ad] makes it sound like we are guiding curriculum – we just want to make sure we accurately portray our specific role in this program.

Details on UOP’s Misrepresentations

  • UOP did not have close or exclusive relationships with the companies featured in the ads. “Many of the “2,000 corporate partners”…were what Defendants referred to as ‘Workforce Solutions’ (WFS) partners—companies whose own employees received a tuition reduction benefit from UOP.
  • Student that UOP claimed to have placed in jobs actually “were employed by those companies prior to or at the time they attended UOP or were hired regardless of their graduation from UOP.” One student, highlighted in UOP’s ad as an employee of the American Red Cross, had actually worked for the organization for 8 years prior to getting a degree from UOP.
  • UOP “described the online jobs portal as providing ‘access to unique job opportunities and connections exclusive to University of Phoenix Students.’ In fact, UOP portal listings were not unique or specifically for UOP students but were widely available to non-UOP students.
  • A 2013 UOP alumni survey found “a significant disparity” between expectations for obtaining a new job and “the reality of obtaining a new job with any company based on a UOP degree.”
  • UOP employees were encouraged to tell students that the corporate partners were “providing job opportunities and helping shape our curriculum” and that UOP’s relationships gave students an “inside track” and a “competitive advantage.” Some students were falsely told that UOP’s 2,000 local partners “hire our students first and from there they go on” and “look specifically at University of Phoenix students to hire instead of any other schools.
  • Even after FTC alerted UOP to its investigation, UOP continued to mislead: UOP engaged in “continued use of the practices challenged…after learning of the Commission’s investigation.” In 2017, a UOP alumnus wrote on Facebook about the struggle to find a job with a UOP degree. UOP responded, “I’m really concerned about this. We have over 3000 education and industry partnerships…”
  • UOP’s website falsely stated that “curricula was ‘developed in collaboration with industry leaders to help cultivate skills valued by employers.’” Instead, UOP “relied on a list of standard job competencies generated by a third-party human resources company” and “simply matched those general skills and traits with its academic programs…This third-party framework does not reflect input from companies, such as Adobe, Microsoft, or Twitter, about their specific needs.

Settlement Details

  • $50 million to FTC for “equitable relief” to students.  Details of the fund have not yet been released
  • $141 million in cancelled student debts for former students who enrolled between October 1, 2012 and December 31, 2016.
  • VES offers free help to all student veterans, including how to access the fund. Email: Help@VetsEdSuccess.Org

Further Information

  • FTC Complaint here filed December 10, 2019
  • Yale Law School memorandum examining veteran complaints about the University of Phoenix here published May 11, 2017

Veterans Education Success

1250 H Street NW Floor 8 Washington DC 20005

Web: VetsEdSuccess.org