FTC sending $50M in settlement payments to University of Phoenix students lured by ‘deceptive’ ads

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is sending almost $50 million in settlement payments to University of Phoenix students for advertisements that may have led them to believe the university had relationships with major national companies that would help them land jobs after graduating.

According to the FTC, the University of Phoenix’s ad campaign gave a false impression that it worked with companies like AT&T, Microsoft, Twitter, the American Red Cross and more to provide job opportunities for its students.

The FTC and University of Phoenix reached a $191 million settlement in 2019 over the misleading advertising.

“The companies’ ads featured employers such as Microsoft, Twitter, Adobe, and Yahoo!, giving the false impression that UOP worked with those companies to create job opportunities for its students and tailor its curriculum for such jobs,” the FTC said at the time the settlement was announced.

“In reality, these companies did not partner with UOP to provide special job opportunities for UOP students or develop curriculum. Instead, UOP and Apollo selected these companies for their advertisements as part of a marketing strategy to drive prospective student interest,” the FTC alleges.

The FTC said some of the ads “targeted military and Hispanic consumers,” specifically.

Below is an example of a University of Phoenix ad that allegedly implies a working relationship with these companies:

To be eligible to receive a payment, a student must have: Enrolled in a masters, bachelors or associates program at the University of Phoenix between Oct. 15, 2021 and Dec. 31, 2016; Paid more than $5,000 with cash, grants, federal or private student loans or military benefits; did not receive a debt cancellation as part of an earlier settlement between the FTC and the University of Phoenix; did not opt out of the university sending student’s contact information to the FTC.

Those who receive a check have 90 days to cash it.

Those who have questions about their payment can call the refund administrator at 1-877-310-0487.

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Zeke Hartner

Zeke Hartner is a digital writer/editor who has been with WTOP since 2017. He is a graduate of North Carolina State University’s Political Science program and an avid news junkie.

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