Monday, November 29, 2010

Where there's smoke there's fire: another Everest College accused of unscrupulous recruiting tactics

Salt Lake City's Desert News reports that:

" Admissions representatives at for-profit Everest College were instructed to make prospective students feel hopeless about their lives in an effort to convince them to enroll, according to a court filing by a former employee.

In a 13-page declaration filed in a lawsuit against the school's West Valley City campus, the former admissions officer details a recruiting process centered on aggressive, scripted sales pitches. The document was filed this month after the college's California-based parent company, Corinthian Colleges Inc., had the suit transferred into federal court.

Three former students sued the company in September, alleging fraudulent misrepresentations about the cost of its programs and their ability to transfer credits to other schools...

In the declaration, Shayler White said he worked for Everest College from December 2009 until September 2010, when he was laid off for failing to meet enrollment quotas. He said admissions workers could receive a $5,000 salary bump for enrolling 36 students in six months.

They were instructed to use "power words" like "career," "professional" and "successful" to sway potential recruits, White said.

"The tactics also included questions designed at putting down the prospective student, making them feel hopeless, bad about their current situation and stuck at a dead end, in order to make enrolling in school look like the best solution to the problem," he wrote...

White said Everest College would buy "leads," or contact information of potential students, for $80 apiece. He was required to call each new lead three times a day for a week, then once a day for the next month. White made up to 600 phone calls each week. He said his managers told him not to delete the numbers of people who asked not to be contacted anymore.

According to White, prospective students who came in for a face-to-face interview were rushed through enrollment paperwork, including the lawsuit waiver the students signed. He said of all the students he signed up in 10 months, only three or four actually read through the agreement.
White said he was tasked with pushing students to defer their loans, often by taking on new loans, to lower the school's default rate. He also said he was not instructed until August 2010 to tell students that credits would not transfer...

The entire article is linked here.

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