DeVry University reaches $100 million FTC settlement over deceptive ads

DeVry University agreed to a $100 million settlement with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) over charges that the for-profit college ran deceptive advertisements, the agency announced Thursday.

DeVry will pay $49.6 million in damages to qualifying students, and $50.6 million in debt relief for students who took out loans to attend the college. This includes $30.35 million for unpaid private loans issued by DeVry to students between September 2008 and September 2015, according to an FTC release.

The FTC charged the university with running false ads claiming 90 percent of DeVry graduates seeking full-time jobs were employed in their field of study within six months of getting their degrees. Another series of false ads claimed the students with DeVry degrees were paid 15 percent more on average than graduates of other universities.

“When people are making important decisions about their education and their future, they should not be misled by deceptive employment and earnings claims,” said FTC Chairwoman Edith Ramirez in a statement. “The FTC has secured compensation for the many students who were harmed, and I am pleased that DeVry is changing its practices.”

DeVry Education Group, the university's parent company, said it chose to settle the case while "denying all accusations of wrongdoing."

"At no time has the academic quality of a DeVry University education been questioned," it said in a statement. "DeVry Group is pleased this matter is reaching resolution."

For-profit colleges have been a frequent target of Obama administration regulation and Senate Democrats' legislative efforts. Critics cite high loan default rates from those schools’ students.

“Today’s settlement announcement between DeVry and the Federal Trade Commission is another example of the predatory practices of a for-profit education company finally catching up to it.," said Sen. Dick DurbinRichard (Dick) Joseph DurbinElection security bills face GOP buzzsaw Election security bills face GOP buzzsaw The Hill's Morning Report - Trump and House Democrats resume battle MORE (D-Ill.), in a statement to The Hill. "This settlement and the $100 million it includes for debt relief is good news for the students harmed by DeVry’s tactics.  Given the rampant fraud in this industry, students should think twice before signing up at one of these for-profit colleges.”

Defenders of for-profit schools say the administration has unfairly cracked down on schools like DeVry for widespread problems throughout higher education.

This article was updated at 2:24 p.m.