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Can You Sue For A Worthless Degree?

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You've put thousands of dollars and several years of your life into your education. Your school promised that you and other graduates help finding a job -- and you find out that their promises are mostly smoke and mirrors or that your education doesn't qualify you for what you thought. If you decide to sue, you'll be among a growing number of disenchanted graduates who are trying to hold educational institutions accountable for their sales tactics through misrepresentation and fraud. Here's what you should know.

Aggressive Marketing At Its Worst

The heart of the allegations being leveled at many for-profit education centers is that the institutions care more about getting student loan money than they do the students -- and are willing to inflate their promises to students to do it.

At least 32 states and some federal agencies are starting to investigate the methods of for-profit educational institutes that lure students in with promises of well-paying careers after graduation but fail to deliver. Many of them inflate the statistics that they use to show how well graduates do at finding jobs upon completion of their degrees.

For example, one law school boasted a 90% employment figure among its graduates -- but didn't reveal that the figure was taken from only a small pool of graduates and included people working as sales clerks and pool cleaners.

In addition, other schools have graduated students who were unable to achieve basic certification in their chosen careers because the school lacked state accreditation. For example, more than a dozen graduates of a Minnesota school are suing after they graduated with education degrees but learned that they weren't eligible to get teaching licenses.

Basic Expectations That Go Unmet

When can you sue a university for your inability to get a job? Each case is different, but a good place to start is by examining the claims made by the school in its advertising materials. You are essentially looking for fraudulent misrepresentations of material facts that induced you to buy into their program.

Did the educational institute promise significant help finding a job? Did it make claims that a network of graduates would be available to help you find a job? Did it have the appropriate accreditation with state and federal authorities to allow you to be licensed in your field? Were you able to transfer credits to other educational institutes or were your credits rejected because the school was considered sub-par?

Another important factor to consider is whether or not your school is already under investigation or in the midst of a lawsuit by other unhappy graduates. If it is, there is a strong likelihood that you share a similar misfortune and complaint.

If you believe that you've been misled by your school into spending a great deal of money and time to purchase a worthless degree, talk to a law firm like Vandeventer Black LLP