The state and for-profit Herzing University reached a settlement Wednesday on behalf of students at the Crystal campus who enrolled in a two-year medical assistant associate degree program that did not have the accreditation desired by potential employers.
Since 2011, Milwaukee-based Herzing has offered a two-year associate degree in clinical medical assisting in Crystal. To be eligible to sit for the Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) exam and obtain the certification preferred by many employers, a student must graduate from a medical assistant program that is accredited by either the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs or the Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools.
Herzing's two-year degree program was not accredited by either organization.
"Students need full and accurate information about the accreditation of a program, which can impact professional licensure and job prospects," Attorney General Lori Swanson said.
Herzing cooperated in reaching the settlement, which requires the school:
• To fully disclose to students the accreditation of any program it offers in Minnesota.
• To fully disclose to students the effect on licensure or certification if they are attending a program that is not accredited.
• To accurately disclose in all advertisements and communications with prospective students the accreditation and the prospective students' ability to obtain necessary licensure or certification upon graduation.
• To prominently display on its website the accreditation of its programs and explain the impact that a lack of accreditation has on students' ability to obtain necessary licenses or certifications.
The settlement also offers four options to students who enrolled in the unaccredited medical assisting degree program at Herzing:
• Forfeit their credits and receive a full refund of all tuition and living expenses.
• Enroll at another institution and receive a full refund of all tuition and corresponding living expenses for any credits that do not transfer.
• Receive a $7,500 credit and continue their studies at Herzing and obtain the credentials needed to sit for the CMA exam (at no additional cost).
• Choose none of these options and pursue any other private remedy on their own.
Attorney general's office spokesman Ben Wogsland said "my understanding is [Herzing] has discontinued this program."
Herzing offers more than 40 programs in the areas of health care, business, technology, design and public safety. Along with Crystal, it has locations in Akron, Ohio; Omaha; Atlanta; New Orleans; Birmingham, Ala.; Orlando; Toledo, Ohio; and in Kenosha, Brookfield and Madison, Wis.