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Civil suit forces Argosy Univ to forgive student loans

It’s unclear if there are any students from American Samoa among the list of former Argosy students for whom the parent company of Argosy University has agreed to forgive loans, as well as to reform its recruiting and enrollment practices as part of a national settlement.


Anne Dean of Argosy University told Samoa News via email that it’s unclear who may be on the list from the territory, as she was unable to get a breakdown of the students impacted by the agreement. Samoa News understands that there are about ten local residents on the said list., but was unable to get confirmation by press time.


In the meantime, Hawai’i’s attorney general made the announcement last week that the parent company of Argosy University had agreed to forgive loans taken out by 181 former Hawai’i students, in addition to reforming its recruiting and enrollment practices.


According to a statement issued by Hawaii Attorney General Doug Chin, about $183,865 in loans will be forgiven for Hawai’i students who were enrolled for short periods of time — between Jan. 1, 2006, and Dec. 31, 2014. “The loan forgiveness and reforms are part of an agreement between for-profit company Education Management Corp., also known as EDMC, of Pittsburgh, and a group of state attorneys general. The consent judgment was filed in state Circuit Court. Our investigation provided a clear picture of how EDMC lured prospective students into its programs and how many students left the program with unfulfilled promises and tremendous debt.”


“This civil enforcement action holds EDMC accountable for what we allege were unfair and deceptive recruitment and enrollment practices. This agreement will provide relief for them through loan forgiveness and ensure that EDMC will make substantial changes to its business practices for future students,” said Chin. He said nationwide, the agreement will forgive $102.8 million in outstanding debt for more than 80,000 former students, and the average amount is expected to be $1,370 per person. In the agreement, EDMC does not admit to the wrongdoing alleged by the attorneys general.


The company operates 110 schools in the United States and Canada, including Argosy University, which has a downtown Honolulu campus; The Art Institute; Brown Mackie College; and South University.


According to the statement posted on the company’s website the company said it has worked with attorneys general to reach agreements that have ended investigations into its recruiting practices.


The parent company of Argosy notes, “EDMC worked to develop new, more transparent standards, which the company hopes will serve as a model for higher education.”


This agreement prohibits EMDC from misleading students about accreditation, graduation rates, financial aid and placement rates. It requires a single-page disclosure projecting the student’s anticipated total cost, median debt for graduates, the default rate and job placement rates. It also gives students a longer period to withdraw from school without financial obligation.


“A new interactive online financial disclosure tool will give each student a personalized financial report, including projected financial commitment, living expenses and potential future earnings. It is being developed by the U.S. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and state attorneys general, and will soon be launched as the Electronic Financial Impact Platform.”


The EDMC loan forgiveness applies to students who withdrew within 45 days of the first day of their first term. Their last day of attendance must have been between Jan. 1, 2006, and Dec. 31, 2014.”




The company’s website does not list American Samoa as having one of its campuses, but Samoa News notes that Argosy University does advertise in its paper for classes offered locally in classrooms located at Pago Plaza and Tradewinds Hotel. It is also said to be one of the tenants for the new building — Ottoville II — currently being built by Halecks Inc., along the Iliili road, across from SSAB Pago.


Samoa News also has been told that students from American Samoa have taken Argosy University classes through the Hawai’I campus. It is unknown if some of these students are among the 181 students listed from Hawai’i.