The FTC will send $50 million to more than 147,000 University of Phoenix students. Here's how to find out if you're owed money.

  • The FTC will send more than $50 million to University of Phoenix students, it said Wednesday.
  • The checks stem from a lawsuit that accused the for-profit college of deceptive marketing.
  • More than 147,000 eligible students will receive payments through the mail or PayPal.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

The US Federal Trade Commission said Wednesday that it is sending nearly $50 million to University of Phoenix students who may have fallen victim to allegedly deceptive marketing practices. 

The direct payments come as part of a $191 million settlement that the University of Phoenix agreed to with the FTC in December 2019 following a lawsuit about its marketing practices. In the suit, the agency alleged that the for-profit, online university lured in students by falsely advertising its relationships with potential employers including AT&T, Twitter, Microsoft, and the American Red Cross.  

“This is the largest settlement the Commission has obtained in a case against a for-profit school,” Andrew Smith, director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection, said in a statement at the time. “Students making important decisions about their education need the facts, not fantasy job opportunities that do not exist.”

The University of Phoenix, for its part, maintained it acted appropriately but agreed to the settlement to avoid further litigation. 

The FTC is mailing 146,804 checks and sending 677 PayPal payments to people who meet criteria including enrolling in a University of Phoenix master’s, bachelor’s, or associate degree program between October 2012 and December 2016. To be eligible for a direct payment, students also must have paid more than $5,000 to the university. 

Read more: How an MBA student got accepted into Harvard, Kellogg, and Wharton business schools — and her tips for crafting a standout application

The FTC lists all eligibility requirements for the payments on its website. 

Those who receive money via PayPal must accept the payment within 30 days, while others have 90 days to cash their checks, the FTC said. 

The settlement also allots $141 million to cancel unpaid balances eligible students owe to the University of Phoenix. Those students will not receive a direct payment. 

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