DENVER - Argosy University has agreed to pay $3.3 million to settle a civil lawsuit with the Colorado Attorney General’s Office.
The state accused Argosy University of deceiving, misleading and financially injuring students seeking doctorate of education degrees in counseling psychology -- in violation of the Colorado Consumer Protection Act.
"Our investigation revealed a pattern of Argosy recklessly launching doctoral degree programs without substantiating or supporting that they led to the advertised outcomes," said Deputy Attorney General Jan Zavislan. "That is illegal under Colorado law and why we are holding Argosy accountable."
Prosecutors said the lawsuit was based on student complaints dating back to 2007.
Prosecutors said students were led to believe that Argosy was seeking to have the program accredited by the American Psychological Association (APA), which prosecutors said was not the case.
"Upon graduating, students were moreover told they would be eligible to become licensed psychologist. In reality, the EdD-CP program’s curriculum and requirements were deficient and students were unlikely to obtain Colorado licensure," prosecutors said.
"Many students withdrew from the EdD-CP program saddled with debt and to date, no Argosy-Denver EdD-CP student has become licensed as a psychologist in Colorado or any other state," Zavislan said. "Under the settlement, 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," concluded Zavislan.
School officials said they agreed to the settlement to resolve certain issues surrounding the program.
"At Argosy University student achievement is our top priority, and we are committed to constant improvement," said Chris Hardman, Vice President of Communications for Education Management Corporation. "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."
Argosy University's parent company, Education Management Corporation, operates schools in more than 20 locations and online. It uses names such as Argosy University, Western State University and the Art Institute of California. Prosecutors said the company also operates Brown Mackie College and South University.
The Argosy University website says the Denver campus offers programs in psychology, counselor education, marriage and family therapy, education, business, health sciences, criminal justice and liberal arts.