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Students Say College Rolled Them

WASHINGTON (CN) - Southeastern University students say the school defrauded them of thousands of dollars - as much as $41,500 per student - without warning them that it "lacked the accreditation that it represented it had." The Superior Court class action claims that Southeastern and the Graduate School, which acquired Southeastern, "lacked the ability to prepare students academically or professionally ... lacked the university backing that it claimed it had ... did not have in place 'clinical externships'" as promised, and its graduates did not qualify to take certification exams, as promised.

The class claims the school made numerous promises to prospective students, including external internships and the chance to take certification exams in Cardiovascular Technology and Medical Technology. The students, who were told they would make "significant salaries upon graduation," paid from $10,000 to $41,500 for tuition and materials, according to the complaint.

Students in the Cardiovascular Technology program say the school promised they would get more than 700 observational and practical hours before graduation, and that the university offered "interactive" classrooms and qualified faculty.

But as the school took their money, the class claims, declining enrollment created financial instability and the university knew that it faced losing its accreditation. It also knew that the external internships and the certification exams would not be available.

"Not a single plaintiff or consumer graduated from [Southeastern's] program," according to the complaint.

The seven named plaintiffs seek class damages for fraud, unfair trade practices and breach of contract, and $10 million in punitive damages. They are represented by John Hermina of Laurel, Md.

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