Agreement with AG forces Premier Education Group to leave Massachusetts; Salter College, others, cancels $ 1.6 million in student debt
A two-year for-profit vocational school has agreed to waive $ 1.6 million in student debt and stop enrolling all Massachusetts students by the end of the year.
The Premier Education Group, of Pennsylvania, reached a settlement agreement with Attorney General Maura Healey after being accused of failing to provide students with information about placement, loan repayments and graduation rates , as required by state law, according to the attorney general’s office.
The deal was voluntary, and as part of it, the company does not admit to wrongdoing, according to documents.
The settlement is specific to students who attended one of the company’s five schools – Branford Hall Career Institute in Springfield, Salter College in Chicopee and West Boylston, and Salter School in Fall River and Malden – between April 2016 and the 31st. March 2018, according to the attorney general’s office.
The company has agreed to pay off $ 1.6 million in debts these students owe to Premier schools and will seek to clear student credit reports of negative debt reports, according to the agreement.
“Salter College has misled students and deprived them of the information they need to make informed choices about their education,” Healey said in a statement. “This regulation will give students the relief they deserve and prevent this predatory for-profit school from doing business in our state.”
As part of the deal, the company, which offered associate’s degrees, will no longer enroll Massachusetts students, including through the internet and other distance learning programs, and must end all operations in Massachusetts by Dec. 31, according to the agreement.
Many schools have already closed. Branford Hall announced in May 2018 that it had stopped taking new student registrations. The company had previously merged it with Salter College in Chicopee.
The agreement also provides for Premier Education Group to pay $ 100,000 to the state. The money is not considered a fine but is used to pay for things such as surveillance, investigation and other actions carried out by the attorney general.
The AG’s office previously obtained a consent judgment against Salter College in 2014 that resolved allegations of similar deceptive enrollment tactics.
Those who have student loans or have other questions about the settlement can contact the Attorney General’s Student Loans Assistance Unit at 1-888-830-6277 or visit the Student Loan Assistance website at attorney general for free assistance.