Thousands of students who took out 10’s of thousands of dollars in student loans to attended San Francisco’s California Culinary Academy, one of 18 cooking schools in the Le Cordon Bleu for-profit college chain, maybe getting some of their money back.
Under a pending $40 million settlement in state court, Career Education Corporation, Le Cordon Bleu’s parent company, has now agreed to offer rebates of up to $20,000 to roughly 8,500 students who attended the academy between Early 2003 and Late 2008.
In a recent class-action lawsuit, former students of the cooking school Le Cordon Bleu for-profit college accused it of misleading them about the true value of their culinary education and the job opportunities after graduation. The students alleged the mega for-profit school defrauded them with countless promises of high-paying jobs and lead them to take on crushing large debt of student loans for expensive programs but provided them with no more chance of finding a high-paying culinary job than someone who didn’t go to culinary school at all.
Although the school’s official website says over 48% of graduates find work in their field of study or a “related field,” critics say that the school purposefully uses tactics that include jobs that don’t pay much more than minimum wage and that don’t require formal culinary education.
The academy’s tuition ranges from $21,000 for a certificate in pastry and baking arts to $43,000 for an associate degree in culinary arts, which did not include books, supplies, or room and board.
“They just oversold it and pushed it. They made misleading statements to lure you in,” said Emily Journey, 26, a plaintiff in the class-action lawsuit against the California Culinary Academy.
In 2004, Journey was convinced by academy recruiters to take out $30,000 in student loans to pay for a seven-month program in pastry and baking arts. After graduation, the only job she was able to find paid $8 an hour to work the night shift at a bakery in Oregon. It was a job that “anyone could have gotten without a culinary certificate,” Journey said.
Journey said she has abandoned her dream of opening her own bakery and will attend community college to become a nurse or dietitian. If the recent settlement money doesn’t come through, she said she’ll be paying for her culinary certificate for another 15 years.
“It is a ridiculous business decision to attend one of these schools,” said attorney Ray Gallo, who represents Journey and countless other plaintiffs suing the California Culinary Academy. “The whole thing doesn’t make economic sense. They know it and they don’t tell you”
There is help for students who have been defrauded by these kinds of schools. Unfortunately, it is a widespread problem that takes advantage of people who are truly trying to make a better life. These institutions have deep pockets and teams of lawyers making it impossible for the “little guy” to get justice. Goodbyeloans could help you can level the playing field now by applying for loan forgiveness/discharge. If you have been defrauded by a for-profit school like this contact us at +1702-747-9946. There is help available, we must stop this for-profit school fraud, and together we will.