A Minneapolis attorney has filed a consumer fraud lawsuit on behalf of five former and current students who say they were misled by Globe University / Minnesota School of Business.
Clayton Halunen asked the Hennepin County District Court to grant the suit class-action status. The suit seeks to cover students enrolled since September 2007.
In essence, the lawsuit claims the for-profit schools misled students about information such as job-placement rates, starting salaries, program accreditation and the transferability of the schools’ credits.
The suit claims that many students leave the schools with worthless degrees but saddled with student loans.
“The common denominator with all of these students at the end of the day is their inability to get a job when they graduate,” Halunen said. “But they also have another common denominator: substantial student debt.”
Globe spokeswoman Naomi McDonald denied the suit’s accusations.
“Obviously we’re saddened,” she said. “You never want a student to feel wronged. You never want a student to feel disappointed about the education they received at your school.”
The suit describes “an aggressive, boiler-room culture” among recruiters, who “hound” prospective students and mislead them. The system, it says, is designed to “enroll as many students as possible by any means so financial-aid profits flow to its pockets.”
Graduation rates range from 27 percent to 50 percent, it says — and less than that for low-income students — rates the suit calls “abysmal.”
The suit alleges that the company broke state consumer-protection laws, including those prohibiting false advertising, unlawful and deceptive trade practices.
The suit’s plaintiffs are: Melissa Beck of Sioux Falls, S.D. (paralegal program); Sarah Beck of Sioux Falls, S.D. (healthcare management); Cherida Brom of Warrens, Wisc. (veterinary technology) ; Reginald Holmes of Sioux Falls, S.D. (medical assistant); and Alexenderia Romig-Palodichuck of Woodbury (medical assistant).
Romig-Palodichuk continues to take classes at Globe’s Woodbury campus. Brom also attended the Woodbury campus.
McDonald said, “The sentiment of these five students does not reflect the thousands that have success stories, the thousands that we’ve graduated over the decades we’ve been around.”
The suit’s accusations aren’t particularly new.
Halunen represented former Globe dean Heidi Weber in a whistleblower trial in August. The jury ordered Globe to pay Weber about $400,000 for firing her after she reported unethical practices.
Globe’s attorney said he was taking steps toward an appeal.
That same month, Globe settled a similar suit filed by another former dean, Jeanne St. Claire.