DENVER — Argosy University-Denver has agreed to pay $3.3 million in a settlement stemming from a lawsuit that accused the school of launching and enrolling students in a graduate program that deceived, misled and financially injured them, according to the Colorado Attorney General’s office.
The University’s doctorate of education in counseling psychology degree (EdD-CP) was the program in question, according to the Colorado Attorney General John Suthers, who said his office tracked student complaints about the program dating back to 2007.
“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. “That is illegal under Colorado law and why we are holding Argosy accountable.”
Arosy University confirmed the settlement later in the day and issued the ensuing statement:
“At Argosy University, student achievement is our top priority, and we are committed to constant improvement. It was important for us to cooperate with the Office of the Colorado Attorney General throughout this investigation and bring the matter to a final resolution.”
The attorney general’s office claimed that Agorsy-Denver led students who enrolled in the EdD-CP porgram to believe the university was seeking to have its program accredited by the American Psychological Association (APA). That was untrue, the attorney general claimed.
Students were also reportedly told that they would be eligible to become licenced psychologists when they graduated. To date, the attorney general’s office wrote, no Argosy-Denver EdD-CP student has become licensed as a psychologist in Colorado or any other state.
One of the biggest road blocks for Argosy-Denver students in attaining a psychologist license was the EdD-CP’s lacking internship program. Even after the school modified its EdD-CP curriculum in 2010, the attorney general’s office wrote, “students found it impossible to obtain local internships that met Colorado’s licensing standards because the EdD-CP program remained unaccredited by the APA.”
After coming to that realization, Zavislan said, “many students withdrew from the EdD-CP program saddled with debt.” Under the settlement reached with Argosy University and its parent company, Education Management Corporation, those students — 66 in all — will receive assistance in getting out from under that debt.
“Argosy must reimburse 66 students for their tuition costs, stop advertising its Denver EdD-CP program as a psychology licensure-track program and cease enrolling students in it,” Zavislan said.