Colorado Attorney General Phil Weiser announced this morning that Art Institute of Colorado students defrauded by the corporate owner Dream Center Education Holdings were returned over $66,000 through a settlement. When the Art Institute closed, it left students with non-transferable credits, large debt loads and “degrees of very limited value.”

The students of the school were defrauded when the Dream Center failed to inform the students that it had lost its accreditation from the Higher Learning Commission in 2018, according to a press release from the attorney general. Dream Center misrepresented to students that the school was accredited until June of that year. Accreditation recognizes that a place of higher education maintains quality standards and helps students decide which schools to attend. I

As part of the settlement, students who were attended the Art Institute around the country at the time are no longer required to pay the “more than $1.2 million” in loans they have taken out directly from the school.

“Deceiving students who are expecting to receive an accredited degree and causing students to incur thousands of dollars in debt can have lasting financial implications for those students,” Weiser said in a statement.

Ensuring the money from the owner is returned to the students attending the Art Institute will work toward remedying the financial harms caused by Dream Center when defrauding the students, Weiser said in the press release. Weiser successfully urged the U.S. Department of Education to dismiss federal student loans for approximately 500 former Art Institute students last fall.

The AG’s Office facilitated the return of some money students lost due to the deception, and the $66,000 refund came from loan payments students had made directly to the school for credits on or after Jan. 20, 2018

Students who borrowed from the Art Institute as of Jan. 20, 2018, can expect to receive a letter from Tuition Options, their servicer, notifying them “certain” institutional loans are subject to the settlement, an adjustment to their loan balance within the past five months, and more than 50 students will receive checks from the AG’s office for amounts paid on intuitional loans for the period of misrepresentation by Dream Center.

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