For-profit online university agrees to $7 million settlement

For-profit Ashford University to pay $7.25 million following allegations of misleading students


DES MOINES, Iowa — Iowa-based Ashford University and its parent company Bridgepoint Education Inc. have agreed to a $7.25 million settlement following allegations that they misled students and misrepresented their program, Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller said Friday.

The announcement caps a three-year investigation into complaints that alleged the for-profit online school used coercive recruitment efforts and omitted information necessary for students to make informed decisions. The money will go toward a program to reimburse current and former Iowa students affected by the school’s conduct.

“We were very concerned about this environment — how it affected students in Iowa and students throughout the country,” Miller said at a news conference

Ashford and Bridgepoint officials did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

The agreement prohibits Ashford from employing practices such as developing misleading advertisements, using coercive tactics to increase enrollment and implying licensure or certification are guaranteed upon completion of a degree program when additional steps may be necessary.

(Next page: How the university may have taken advantage of student veterans)