For-profit school in Pittsfield agrees to pay $600K to former students, forgive debts

A for-profit adult career education school in Massachusetts has agreed to pay more than $1 million in relief to former students to settle allegations that it used high-pressure enrollment tactics and exaggerated its placement rates, the state attorney general's office said Monday.

Under terms of the settlement, the Mildred Elley School in Pittsfield is required to pay $600,000 to be distributed to former students, and will forgive more than $420,000 in student debt.

The school violated Massachusetts' for-profit and occupational school regulations designed to protect prospective students from January 2015 until March 2017, the attorney general said in a statement.

The attorney general alleges the school failed to make certain disclosures to prospective students in a timely manner; used high-pressure sales tactics by contacting prospective students more than twice in a seven-day period; and published placement rates significantly higher than rates calculated by the attorney general's office.

Attorney General Maura Healey said in a statement, "This settlement stops this school from using these tactics on students moving forward and secures relief for the harm done."

In a statement, the school stressed that the Massachusetts agreement covered only a specific time period and "includes no admission of any wrongdoing."

"The inquiry related to consumer disclosures primarily during 2016 and 2017, for which corrective action was taken shortly after the inquiry began," the school said.

Mildred Elley, which also has campuses in New York City and Albany, New York, offers career training in fields including business technologies, medical office assistant and cosmetology.


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