Indiana Seeks End of The College Network

     (CN) – The College Network wrongly saddles unsuspecting consumers with hefty high-interest loans while selling them worthless training for bogus college credits, the state attorney general claims in a lawsuit.
     In a complaint filed on June 18, Attorney General Gregory Zoeller says that since 2011, he has received 492 complaints about The College Network Inc., and that an investigation by the Federal Trade Commission suggests the company may have violated the state’s Credit Services Organization Act and Deceptive Consumer Sales Act.
     Zoeller says The College Network targets non-traditional students who are seeking to obtain a college degree through online coursework.
     However, The College Network is not a school and does not directly offer degrees, college credits or course. Its entire business is based upon selling “comprehensive learning modules” – study materials for end-of-course equivalency examinations that the company claims will be accepted for credit by various colleges and universities.
     “The College Network represents to consumers that if they pass their college equivalency exams, consumers can obtain credits when they enroll in a ‘Degree Partner’ program and obtain their college degree after completing any remaining courses,” the attorney general says.
     According to the complaint, the company’s program advisors are actually sales people trained to create a sense of urgency in the potential customer and to sway away and otherwise dismiss negative online reviews the consumer might have encountered online.
     “Consumers are then pressured by the Program Advisor to agree to purchase and pay for all CLMs and tests recommended by the Program Advisor in advance, rather than purchasing CLMs on a rolling basis as the consumer completes the program,” Zoeller says.
     What the company fails to tell consumers is that there is no guarantee that the exams will be accepted for credit anywhere, or that consumers have to apply and be accepted into a regular school, the attorney general says.
     The lawsuit says The College Network also delays paying the fees for students to take exams, misleads them into thinking there are grants available for the program and does not give them required credit information when applying for their loans.
     Zoeller seeks cancellation of all The College Network’s existing contracts with consumers, restitution of all alleged ill-gotten gains, and unspecified civil penalties.
     Representatives of The College Network could not be reached for comment.

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