Five students have filed a class-action lawsuit against Globe University in Woodbury, accusing the for-profit school of misleading and manipulating prospective students and lying about its job-placement rates and accreditation.
The new allegations surfaced just two months after a former dean, Heidi Weber, won a $395,000 judgment against Globe in a whistleblower lawsuit over alleged ethical violations at the school. The students began contacting Weber's Minneapolis attorneys, Halunen & Associates, about "potential legal grievances" after the August verdict, according to a statement from the attorneys. The new lawsuit was filed Wednesday in Hennepin County District Court.
Among other things, the lawsuit says that Globe uses deceptive advertising to recruit students, and "lies about, and/or obscures the truth about its inferior accreditation, which … causes employers to reject its graduates."
Naomi McDonald, a Globe spokeswoman, called the lawsuit unfortunate and disappointing. "We are saddened that these individuals chose to handle their concerns this way," she said in a written statement. "Lawsuit aside, as a college you never want to hear that a student is unhappy with their education." At the same time, she said, "We know the sentiment of these five does not reflect all, and we will not allow it to cast a black eye on the thousands of students proud to be a member of our schools."
One former student, Sarah Beck of Sioux Falls, S.D., said that when she enrolled, she was told that Globe was fully accredited and that its credits would transfer to any school or university. But she discovered the opposite when she graduated from its health care management program in 2010, with more than $41,000 in student loans. "When she tried to transfer her credits to three other postsecondary institutions, all of them rejected Globe's credits, saying Globe's health care management program is unaccredited," the lawsuit said.
Globe's recruiters gave the same false assurances to at least four other students, according to the complaint, and exaggerated the wages that they could expect on graduation.
"These degrees are nearly worthless," said the lawsuit.
The allegations echo the complaints raised by Weber, the former dean of Globe's medical assistant program, in her whistleblower lawsuit against the school in 2011. Weber said she was fired after complaining about falsified job placement numbers and other misleading recruitment tactics.
Globe denied Weber's charges. But in August, a Washington County jury ordered the school to pay the former dean $205,000 for lost wages and $190,000 for emotional distress. Globe has an estimated 7,900 students in its online career programs and at 20 campuses in Minnesota, South Dakota and Wisconsin.