Ashworth College, a for-profit institution in Georgia, has agreed to a settle a complaint by the Federal Trade Commission that it misrepresented how well its degrees would prepare students to earn licenses in specific vocations, and the ease with which students could transfer Ashworth credits to other institutions.
“When schools promise students they can transfer course credits or get a better job after completing their programs, they’d better be able to back up those claims,” said Jessica Rich, director of the commission’s Bureau of Consumer Protection, in a news release. “Ashworth College didn’t tell the truth when it made those promises to prospective students.”
Ashworth said in a statement on Tuesday that the commission had “missed the mark” with the accusations, which it “emphatically” denied. “Rather than focus on the effective, career-focused programs that Ashworth has continually delivered to students for nearly 30 years, the FTC instead focused on a few isolated incidents that are not representative of Ashworth’s practices and policies,” the statement reads.
As part of the proposed settlement, Ashworth cannot misrepresent that degrees lead to steady employment, or that they prepare students to switch careers, among other things. The settlement needs a federal judge’s approval to take effect.
According to the commission’s release, the settlement includes an $11-million penalty that is suspended because of Ashworth’s inability to pay.