Students were required to pay for MedVance-branded uniforms and wear them to every class. But after showing up, they were treated to an amazing lack of accountability. One student told investigators he remembered breaking up a fight between a teacher and another student, going long stretches without a teacher in the classroom, and learning nothing. Students were shuttled off to area clinics and hospitals for "externships," in which they performed free labor, such as filing or desk work, that often had little to do with their education.

Medina, who already had a master's degree, told investigators that students sometimes made up their own test questions. "I had one teacher [who] taught medical terminology," she recalled. "She couldn't even pronounce the words."

The stories above are fairly common — and they're all part of the public record. So what punishment have Florida's most powerful consumer advocates meted out for such abuse of tax money and ambition? Not much.

Barmak Nassirian: "This is basically a parasitic industry."
Barmak Nassirian: "This is basically a parasitic industry."

In June, the AG and MedVance announced they had reached a settlement: The school will offer free retraining to students who were duped by the subpar offerings, and contribute $600,000 to scholarship programs that can be used at schools around the state, including MedVance.

That number is tiny when compared with the millions MedVance and other companies like it garner in revenues. The settlement doesn't require MedVance to pay students for the money they borrowed for tuition. It does provide unhappy students with the option of entering an "expedited" legal arbitration process to seek damages — but with some serious limitations. Claims are limited to $75,000, and students must pay for their own lawyers.

Dozens of disgruntled current and former MedVance students, including Medina, have sued the school's parent companies in both Palm Beach and Miami-Dade counties.

The limit on attorney's fees is essentially a gift to MedVance. The American Arbitration Association, a group of legal officials charged with resolving these disputes, calls it "substantial deviation from the rules." The association is asking MedVance to drop that limitation — and saying that if it doesn't, it may refuse to handle all consumer complaints involving the school, forcing students to seek damages in court.

That could threaten the private suits against MedVance, which are in arbitration, as well as any pretense that the AG's settlement might help students recover damages.

President Obama has even become involved in the case, though timidly. In July, the U.S. Department of Education prohibited basing salespeople's pay on enrollment. It also tried to rein in federal lending with new rules that would make a school ineligible for student loan money if too many of its students were struggling to repay loans. The rules were set to go into effect this summer, but last month a federal court judge in Washington, D.C., blocked the regulation.

Meanwhile, thousands of alumni are still looking for something to do with their costly degrees. Diana Medina told investigators in November 2010, three months after she graduated, that she hadn't been able to find a job with her medical-assisting degree, and didn't expect to. "I'm in contact with at least five other students, and they have not found jobs," she said. "I feel that this education is a joke."

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11 comments
jmaximus9
jmaximus9

The problem could be ended today if financial assistance was limited to actual schools instead of these scam diploma mills. The dept of ed could assemble the list in a day or two at the most. Problem solved. 

jmaximus9
jmaximus9

Mitt Romney's son is a major investor in Full Sail, the biggest rip-off school around.

scott981
scott981

As one of the lawyers who represents students in the AAA against Medvance, we are happy that the AAA refuses to enforce these unfair agreements with their former students.  Anyone who needs assistance with this arbitration process should feel free to contact us at www.behrenlaw.com.

AP75
AP75

     Thank you to the Miami New Times for finally bringing a situation that has affected many to light.   Hopefully this is only the beginning of stories to come for there is one school in particular that was overlooked in the article. This (University) institution would be under the conglomerate of The Education Management Corporation or EDMC, namely, The Art Institute's Miami International University of Art and Design. 

      Lets just say that I am in agreement with Sokko 69, and would be willing to share this story with the New Times.    This injustice is widespread and although many feel strong-armed, there are some students,former professors and administrators that have facts, and a paper trail of correspondence to show.    Once again,  I commend the Miami New Times for taking the time to compose an article that can penetrate the local population.    Keep in mind that there was a segment on MSNBC's Rock Center with Brian Williams that was aired the middle of last month regarding the EDMC.  As I look for the link on my iPhone to place it in this comment space, there is a pop up from Ai propaganda regarding enrolling into their program.

 

May this not be the last...  

 

 http://rockcenter.nbcnews.com/_news/2012/07/19/12842350-investigation-reveals-claims-of-unmanageable-debt-by-for-profit-college-students?lite

sokko69
sokko69

Im a graduat of Miami international Unvesity... i was not pleased at all with the end result of the so called education. Teachers qualty varied, being that the do have a handful of teachers that really are good and you actually learn with them. Yet there were times that you would see students that had graduated the quarter before, back at the university teaching. That is a far cry from the advertisement that they had where as they would say" learn from professionals from the industry..

furthermore , discovering that there was a $30,000.00 loan that i had not asked for, or signed for ...was now in collections... salllie mea, and the department of education stated tat the could nothing about it.  so i started with the Better Business Bearue.... recieved one response in reference to several complaints....the main one was how can the university get an extra $30000.00 without signetures and paperwork from the person that its for... the BBB then informed me that the university did not want to comment nor reply..then suggested that i take the matter further by way of the legal system.. 

run.randrand
run.randrand

P.T. BARNUM ONCE SAID--" A SUCKER IS BORN EVERY MINUTE"!"---LET THE WILLING BE AWARE----

thaphenom
thaphenom

The solution to a problem created by government is...more government? Does not compute.

drakemallard
drakemallard topcommenter

the College degree scam The Education Complex has created this stigma that somehow you are lacking if you don't have a college degree. If everyone has a college degree, then by definition that degree is devalued and not worth the paper it is written on. This is evident by the fact the many organizations are requiring a master degree to be eligible for management. I find this offensive. It is obviously in their own self interest to perpetuate this myth.Now that everyone believes this myth, they tell you that if you take out a $50,000 easy government loan and be a slave to the payments for the rest of your life you will have a good job and be fulfilled.Right, while you end up living with your parents because you can't find a job. If you were poor you are now poor and in debt up to your neck. Many will be in debt for most of their lives with no value from their worthless degree a college degree does not guarantee a job

StefanKamph
StefanKamph

 @run.randrand One might argue that the circus is both cheaper and more educational than some of these schools.

jmaximus9
jmaximus9

 @thaphenom No the problem was caused by a lack of gov oversight and republicans more interested in ripping off the public than actually doing their job. 

run.randrand
run.randrand

 @StefanKamph HAVING GONE TO STETSON UNIVERSITY-OF COURSE, I WOULD RELISH COMMUNITY EDUCATION HERE AT A PREMIUM PRICE FOR ALL WHO WANT STUDIES-BUT LET ME MAKE IT VERY CLEAR-THOSE WHO PERPETUATE FRAUDS ON THE PEOPLE---SHOULD BE HUNG! I KID THEE NOT!!

 
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