KANSAS CITY, Mo. (CN) - Wright Career College uses "an army of aggressive, persistent enrollment advisers" to persuade students to take needless classes at taxpayers' expense, four former students claim in court.
Stefanie Ayala et al. sued Mission Group Kansas dba Wright Career College, the Board of Directors of Mission Group Kansas, Wright Career President John Mucci, Treasurer Stephen Browne and Secretary Ron Holt, in Jackson County Court.
The plaintiffs claim the defendants tap into federal student loan and grant programs - including the William D. Ford Federal Direct Loan Program and the Federal Pell Grant Program - and tried to shield itself from risk of student loan defaults by using deceptive marketing to entice students into taking loans they cannot afford for classes they don't need.
The plaintiffs say the defendants do this by deceiving students about financial aid, the true cost of attending Wright College, the value of Wright's accreditations, the quality and reputation of its academic programs and employment prospects graduates can expect.
"WCC does this by improperly hiding information from visitors to its websites and by misleading students through affirmative misrepresentations and material omissions," the complaint states. "WCC also trains and deploys an army of aggressive, persistent enrollment advisers to reach out and recruit students directly, persuade current students to continue taking course with no value, to re-apply for additional and unnecessary governmentally guaranteed loans, and to purchase, with those funds, additional materials and credit hours from WCC.
"Collectively, these tactics drive WCC's enrollment practices and work to the company's great financial benefit, at the expense of its students, the federal government, and the American taxpayers."
The plaintiffs seek actual and punitive damages for fraudulent misrepresentation, negligent misrepresentation, negligent hiring and retention, civil conspiracy, violations of the Missouri Merchandising Practices Act, and an accounting.
They are represented by Andrew K. Smith, with Humphrey, Farrington & McClain, of Independence, Mo.
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