WEST PALM BEACH (CN) - Six students claim MedVance Institute, a for-profit college, "victimizes its students," and is little more than a matriculation mill that left them tens of thousands of dollars in debt, without training for careers as medical professionals, and with worthless course credits that are not transferable to legitimate colleges.
In their complaint in Palm Beach County Court, the plaintiffs said MedVance, founded and run by defendants Education Affiliates and KIMC Investments, made false statements about the quality and cost of its education, about graduates' preparedness to pass certification exams, about the ease of repaying federal student loans, and their job prospects upon graduation.
In sum, "Plaintiffs who were enticed by promises of a better life left MedVance with little more than an insurmountable debt burden," the complaint states.
"Instead of learning the skills required to succeed in the fields of Medical Office Administration and Medical Coding and Billing, plaintiffs were subjected to out-of-control classes taught by disinterested and unqualified teachers," the complaint adds.
Instead of receiving sound financial advice from the school's financial aid department, the students say they were "rushed through the loan application process" with simple assurances not to worry about a major life decision.
The students say that MedVance Institute was primarily interested in boosting its enrollment: as the recipient and beneficiary of state and federal money and loans guarantees, the more students it enroll, the greater its profits.
They say the Government Accountability Office is investigating MedVance as part of its probe of for-profit colleges.
"The GAO cites MedVance on August 4, 2010, for 'encouraging fraudulent practices' and for making 'deceptive or otherwise questionable statements,'" according to the complaint. "MedVance is part of the burgeoning phenomenon of for-profit career colleges, which 'have grown in enrollment from 365,000 students to nearly 2 million over the past several years ... [and whose] students borrowed more than $20 billion in federal loans last year,'" the students say, citing the GAO report. (Brackets in complaint.)
The students seek compensatory damages and costs on claims of breach of contract, breach of good faith and fair dealing, fraud, fraudulent misrepresentation, misleading advertising and unfair and deceptive trade practices.
They are represented by Matthew Seth Sarelson of Miami.
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