ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — Minnesota Attorney General Lori Swanson filed a lawsuit Tuesday against two colleges, accusing the schools of misleading criminal justice students about their ability to land a job in their field and transferring credits to other institutions.
Swanson contends the Minnesota School of Business and Globe University try to attract prospective students who want to become police officers, but don’t offer the educational requirements to become a licensed police officer under Minnesota law. The schools, which are under common ownership, aren’t regionally accredited and don’t offer a program approved by a state standards board.
“Going to college has long been a way for people to try to make a better life for themselves. The schools exploited this dream for some students, who are now saddled with debt,” Swanson said in a statement.
The schools called the lawsuit “an unnecessary enforcement action” that only serves to hurt the interests of the schools’ students and graduates. The schools said in a statement that they have fully cooperated with the attorney general’s investigation.
“The claims that our admissions practices and credit transfer policies are deceptive could not be further from the truth,” the schools said. “Our admissions training practices are designed to provide prospective students with all of the information needed to make an informed decision prior to enrolling.”
The lawsuit, filed in Hennepin County, seeks a court order blocking the schools from continuing the alleged behavior, civil penalties and restitution.
Among the allegations, Swanson’s suit contends the schools recommend their criminal justice program to prospective students who tell the schools they want to become police officers, even though a student who graduates from the schools would need to obtain a degree from another certified institution to become a police officer in Minnesota.
“It isn’t right for students whose goal is to protect and defend the public as police officers to be sold a degree that doesn’t even allow them to become a police officer in Minnesota,” Swanson said.
The schools said before any students enroll in the criminal justice program, admissions representatives tell them that the program does not fulfill Minnesota Peace Officer Standards and Training requirements needed to become a police officer.
According to the lawsuit, the schools have a sales-oriented culture that place a premium on enrolling students by “admissions representatives” who are trained to “master the art of selling.”
Swanson also alleges the schools have told some students that their credits will transfer to other institutions, even though the schools know that “little to none” of their credits will transfer to most other schools.
In response, the schools said: “The purpose of our degree, diploma and certificate offerings is to provide career-specific education and general education credits that will lead toward rewarding employment. While it is unlikely that credits will transfer to state colleges or universities, some institutions accept Globe University and Minnesota School of Business credits.” Students interested in transferring credits to another school are advised to check with that institution before enrolling, the schools said.
With corporate headquarters in Woodbury, the schools have 11 campuses in Minnesota, seven in Wisconsin and one in Sioux Falls, S.D.