DynamicDidactic

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Argosy Fined $3.3 Million by Colorado

http://www.denverpost.com/news/ci_24663345/argosy-university-denver-fined-3-3-million-deceptive
Argosy University Denver, a for-profit school, will pay $3.3 million in restitution and fines for engaging in deceptive marketing practices, the Colorado attorney general's office said Thursday.

"Our investigation revealed a pattern of Argosy recklessly launching doctoral degree programs without substantiating or supporting that they led to the advertised outcomes," Deputy Attorney General Jan Zavislan said in a statement. "That is illegal under Colorado law and why we are holding Argosy accountable."

Carolyn Tyler, a spokeswoman for the attorney general's office, said that $2.7 million of the assessment against Argosy will be returned to students to help them retire their college debt.

The investigation began after complaints in 2007. Students said they were led to believe the school was seeking to have its doctorate of education in counseling psychology degrees accredited by the American Psychological Association, which was not the case.

Although students were told they would be eligible to become licensed psychologists, the program's curriculum and requirements were deficient and left them unlikely to be licensed in Colorado. One program failure was a lack of adequate internships in the state, the attorney general's office said in a statement.

The attorney general's office said its investigation revealed a pattern of deceptive behavior by the school. The settlement requires Argosy to offer programs that meet state requirements and program accrediting standards so students are eligible for certification or licensure.

In a statement, Argosy officials acknowledged the agreement to pay the $3.3 million fine.

"At Argosy University, student achievement is our top priority, and we are committed to constant improvement," said Chris Hardman, vice president of communications.
 

Rivi

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Just remember, friends don't let friends go to Argosy/Alliant/Fielding/Etc.
+ 1

This doesn't surprise me at all from Argosy. They take an absurd number of students and really need to be held accountable. Their "admission counselors" operate like sales staff, and they use pretty naive first and second year students in their student videos to make it sound like their programs are a joy ride for 5 years. What is interesting in this case is the fact that a lack of internships contributed to Argosy getting in trouble.
 
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DynamicDidactic

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I wonder how much money the program made in its lifetime compared to the 3.3 million fine.
 

Drrrrrr. Celty

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I really think that every school from University of Pheonix, Devry, to even Caribbean Medical schools should be fined for similar reasons.
The whole situation regarding for profit education whether on the undergrad or graduate level is toxic.
 
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terrybug

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Could the tide really be turning? Will this give APA a foundation for censuring this dodgy programs are has the APA been infiltrated and compromised? Either way, it's promising.
 

G Costanza

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Could the tide really be turning? Will this give APA a foundation for censuring this dodgy programs are has the APA been infiltrated and compromised? Either way, it's promising.
I suspect if APA cared about this problem, they wouldn't be having Argosy sponsoring their annual conference. I still support APA but they know what's happening and are clearly more interested in $$$ right now over the future of the field.
At least that's my take looking from the outside in.
 
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psychRA

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On an individual level, I have to wonder...how were these school officials able (emotionally and intellectually) to tell absolute lies about the program's intention to apply for accreditation? Was this a situation where even the faculty/admissions team thought that the program truly intended to apply, and told the students this, but were misled by the administration? Or was this a coordinated effort to mislead students, and the entire staff knew that the the program would not be applying for accreditation?

From the standpoint of the students, it doesn't matter, and if some staff members were also misled, that's still the fault of Argosy. I'm just trying to wrap my head around the mentality that would allow someone to lie to students about something as serious as accreditation.
 

Ollie123

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On an individual level, I have to wonder...how were these school officials able (emotionally and intellectually) to tell absolute lies about the program's intention to apply for accreditation? Was this a situation where even the faculty/admissions team thought that the program truly intended to apply, and told the students this, but were misled by the administration? Or was this a coordinated effort to mislead students, and the entire staff knew that the the program would not be applying for accreditation?

From the standpoint of the students, it doesn't matter, and if some staff members were also misled, that's still the fault of Argosy. I'm just trying to wrap my head around the mentality that would allow someone to lie to students about something as serious as accreditation.
Corporate culture? As abhorrent as it is, this surprises me very little and you see the same sort of thing from the pharmaceutical industry, banking industry, healthcare industry, insurance industry and any other industry. Stretching the truth as far as possible to gain a profit is a way of life. As much as I loathe the existence of these programs, they are far from the most egregious example of such behavior so I think the questions extends far beyond just the for-profit education industry. It definitely exists on a continuum and will be present in non-profit education as well, though usually isn't quite as horrific.

People respond to incentives. Its easy to convince yourself its okay or at least "not SO bad" or "Its not my fault" when the person paying you gives a directive.
 
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MCParent

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On an individual level, I have to wonder...how were these school officials able (emotionally and intellectually) to tell absolute lies about the program's intention to apply for accreditation? Was this a situation where even the faculty/admissions team thought that the program truly intended to apply, and told the students this, but were misled by the administration? Or was this a coordinated effort to mislead students, and the entire staff knew that the the program would not be applying for accreditation?
I'm open to ideas about how to ask this question of NCSPP governance directly. I've already emailed the author of the story to see if he or anyone he knows wants to talk about how this problem manifests on a national level.

And a plug for the facebook group:

https://www.facebook.com/groups/223654767715768/

And a website that would have helped the students:

http://psychologygradschool.weebly.com/
(if people can google search the web site, and click it a few times, it will increase its google rank and hopefully some students can be helped out of these types of situations)
 

chman

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For-Profit Education….has no place in education.

*see above*
If anyone is interested, there is a pretty solid "Frontline" episode on pbs' website about for-profit education...

It isn't just for-profits though, although they certainly are the most blatant offenders. I heard a couple years back that there was a large lawsuit by law students over this same issue; schools misrepresenting outcome data and false promises.

Obviously these schools' practices are immoral and just plain sleazy, and I think the sate(s) should do more about it.. However, I have to say that as a potential student one does bear some responsibility before buying in to the promises of for profit university X, and should research any educational program before attending (beyond what the school website says).
 
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xXIDaShizIXx

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If anyone is interested, there is a pretty solid "Frontline" episode on pbs' website about for-profit education...

It isn't just for-profits though, although they certainly are the most blatant offenders. I heard a couple years back that there was a large lawsuit by law students over this same issue; schools misrepresenting outcome data and false promises.

Obviously these schools' practices are immoral and just plain sleazy, and I think the sate(s) should do more about it.. However, I have to say that as a potential student one does bear some responsibility before buying in to the promises of for profit university X, and should research any educational program before attending (beyond what the school website says).
I mean it is a little bit of a give and take. The students should simply run them out of business by not attending them, but the governing bodies should more effectively try to take them down.
 

xXIDaShizIXx

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That would be nice, but I don't it is a realistic option because there will always be students who are willing to give them money for a chance to be a "doctor".
And I don't deny that in the least. From my other posts you know feel that at least the majority of students can have a successful career and affect positive change on these institutions. Sometimes they just need a prod or two to get to where they need to be.
 

AcronymAllergy

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Just saw this posted by someone on one of the neuropsych listserves re: Argosy...

The company faces lawsuits by the federal government and 11 states seeking the return of more than $11 billion paid in federal student aid over several years. The lawsuits claim EDMC improperly paid recruiters based on the number of students they enrolled. The company denies the allegations

Regardless of how much money they've made thus far, $11B would sting a little bit.
 
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DynamicDidactic

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any citation? Would love to pass it on.
 

MCParent

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Just saw this posted by someone on one of the neuropsych listserves re: Argosy...




Regardless of how much money they've made thus far, $11B would sting a little bit.

:hardy:There's no "break out the champagne" smiley.

Perhaps sting enough for the parent companies to revise their business plans and cut psychology graduate education out of their business model. Thanks, lawyers, for solving the internship crisis where apa failed miserably for a decade.
 

Therapist4Chnge

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Perhaps sting enough for the parent companies to revise their business plans and cut psychology graduate education out of their business model. Thanks, lawyers, for solving the internship crisis where apa failed miserably for a decade.
I'm sure they did it out of the goodness of their collective hearts….and the 30% (or similar) in fees they would get from winning the case. The net result should be positive, so I'm all for it.
 

MCParent

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I'm sure they did it out of the goodness of their collective hearts….and the 30% (or similar) in fees they would get from winning the case. The net result should be positive, so I'm all for it.
No, I totally agree. The lawyers are the real winners if this goes to that. APA had the responsibility to solve this problem long ago.
 

cara susanna

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One of my professors said that part of the lawsuit is also over not being able to get an internship and therefore not graduate (fulfilling this idea of a student suing over not matching). Is there any truth to that?
 

MCParent

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One of my professors said that part of the lawsuit is also over not being able to get an internship and therefore not graduate (fulfilling this idea of a student suing over not matching). Is there any truth to that?
I doubt that's true. I don't think a program can actually *require* a student to complete an apa or appic internship--they only very strongly suggest it as it may later affect the student, and doesn't look good for the program. A non-matching student could slap together an unaccredited thing and call it an internship, and get the degree so long as the program agrees the experience was acceptable to them. Or the program could, very easily, contend that the student simply didn't apply to enough places, or didn't interview well. The program is not responsible for that. There was a TEPP paper on this a while ago, which may be what your prof is thinking of, but I don't think that paper addressed the issue correctly.
 

WisNeuro

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I doubt that's true. I don't think a program can actually *require* a student to complete an apa or appic internship--they only very strongly suggest it as it may later affect the student, and doesn't look good for the program. A non-matching student could slap together an unaccredited thing and call it an internship, and get the degree so long as the program agrees the experience was acceptable to them. Or the program could, very easily, contend that the student simply didn't apply to enough places, or didn't interview well. The program is not responsible for that. There was a TEPP paper on this a while ago, which may be what your prof is thinking of, but I don't think that paper addressed the issue correctly.
My graduate handbook states that the internship site must be accredited, or approved by the training committee. Although that caveat is there, I can almost guarantee that the training committee would not approve a non-accredited site. A move I wholeheartedly agree with.
 

Therapist4Chnge

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I doubt that's true. I don't think a program can actually *require* a student to complete an apa or appic internship...
I'm not so sure about that. I know this topic has come up in the past, though with the growing disaster that is the Internship Match process, it is definitely going to come to a head. From what I've seen, the vast majority of programs function like APA-only by having procedural steps in place to limit what kind of sites a student can apply to within the process. DCT needs to approve hours, eligibility, etc. I'm not sure if things have changed since the app process went electronic, but that is how it went with the paper applications.
 

AcronymAllergy

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One of my professors said that part of the lawsuit is also over not being able to get an internship and therefore not graduate (fulfilling this idea of a student suing over not matching). Is there any truth to that?
If that's the case directly, then many other programs could of course be potentially at fault in the same way if their students don't secure internships and graduate. Although I don't know how many students at other programs are actually expelled rather than leaving "of their own volition" due to not matching.

I wonder if it has to do with something in the marketing materials and/or program description at Argosy campuses stating or implying that an internship was guaranteed?
 

MCParent

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My graduate handbook states that the internship site must be accredited, or approved by the training committee. Although that caveat is there, I can almost guarantee that the training committee would not approve a non-accredited site. A move I wholeheartedly agree with.
It probably would not be defensible for the program to actually require apa accredited internship without providing one. The caveat probably covers them, though, as the student would have to justify that their applications to APA internships were reasonable. The latter is probably not possible, because the student probably applied to 10-15 of 2000 job openings--how could that be argued to have been exhaustive? How can the applicant prove that their not matching was not due to them not applying to enough places or not interviewing well enough? I don't see how any of this suing programs stuff, other than suing for fraud/misrepresentation (as above), could actually happen.
 

Therapist4Chnge

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How can the applicant prove that their not matching was not due to them not applying to enough places or not interviewing well enough? I don't see how any of this suing programs stuff, other than suing for fraud/misrepresentation (as above), could actually happen.
Leverage the existing data!

Part of that can be answered by the post-match data collected by APPIC. With the exception of this past year (or from two years ago?), increased applications to sites did not yield a higher match rate. If you can show that applying to 40-50 sites did not increase your chances, it should matter much less if there were 200 or 2000 "possible" sites. Take that data and then cite the data from the APPIC match rates by program to show that the program consistently struggles to match students. If they really wanted to help themselves, they could site YOUR work in this area. :cool:

ps. I was serious about wanting to do follow-up analysis of the C-20 / match data…so drop me a line if you all are looking at a v2.0 or offshoot.

pss. With all of that being said….the alleged deceptive practices / recruiting bonus tie-ins are going to do far more damage than trying to prove N=1's. Juries and judges don't like when Corp. are slimy about their practices, so that would be the soft under-belly I'd target if I were a lawyer (which I am not).
 

cara susanna

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Reread the article and caught this statement:
One program failure was a lack of adequate internships in the state, the attorney general's office said in a statement.
So, it sounds like part of the issue is the fact that there aren't enough local internships.

Edit: Found this from another article:

Lacking in particular were internships in Colorado where students were promised they could remain during their studies. Even after Argosy modified the curriculum in 2010, students “found it impossible to obtain local internships that met Colorado’s licensing standards” because the program remained unaccredited.
Double edit: Found the actual legal document: https://www.coloradoattorneygeneral.gov/sites/default/files/press_releases/2013/12/05/120513_argosy_complaint_final.pdf
 
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AcronymAllergy

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Reread the article and caught this statement:


So, it sounds like part of the issue is the fact that there aren't enough local internships.

Edit: Found this from another article:



Double edit: Found the actual legal document: https://www.coloradoattorneygeneral.gov/sites/default/files/press_releases/2013/12/05/120513_argosy_complaint_final.pdf
Ahh, so Argosy promised students they could remain in CO throughout their training. Big, big mistake.

Oh, and the bit about promising that they were seeking accreditation when in fact they were not is also particularly appalling.
 
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MCParent

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Reread the article and caught this statement:


So, it sounds like part of the issue is the fact that there aren't enough local internships.

Edit: Found this from another article:



Double edit: Found the actual legal document: https://www.coloradoattorneygeneral.gov/sites/default/files/press_releases/2013/12/05/120513_argosy_complaint_final.pdf
I've been misquoted often enough after giving interviews that I'm skeptical of what a reporter said was the reason is precisely correct. Maybe though.
 

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I've been misquoted often enough after giving interviews that I'm skeptical of what a reporter said was the reason is precisely correct. Maybe though.
A complete aside: It is somewhat scary/sad the poor grasp most reporters have on science/technical information.

One of my all-time fav. Piled Higher & Deeper comics:
 

WisNeuro

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I've been misquoted often enough after giving interviews that I'm skeptical of what a reporter said was the reason is precisely correct. Maybe though.
It says it in the official document as well.
 
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I'm glad to hear this. For-profit schools are the reason PsyD programs are perceived as inferior to PhD programs like they are today because each branch of argosy has cohorts 40+ students.
 
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Therapist4Chnge

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Basically, it says that Argosy's parent company (which runs a total of 110 schools) is being sued across a variety of states for a total of $11B. Thus, that number doesn't apply solely/specifically to Argosy. Although $11B is $11B, and that's a lot of money regardless.
"Eh, I guess." -Warren Buffett
 

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Argosy professor/counselor arrested for aggravated assault. Wow, this is who the hire for education in this department?!
http://right2know.timesfreepress.com/mugsDetail.aspx?id=46176
To be fair, it's just a charge, not a conviction. And he's just one professor of dozens/perhaps hundreds. I'm sure Argosy isn't the only school to have profs be arrested for all variety of charges...

...that being said, I still don't support or agree with Argosy's business practices or training model.
 

WisNeuro

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Yeah, as much disdain as I have for argosy, I can cherry pick and find a researcher clinician at a respected university that has probably done worse.