An Everest College campus in Atlanta, which is almost a replica of the one once located in Melrose Park. The for-profit college closed in 2014 amid allegations of fraud. | tretomo.com
Thursday, September 22, 2016 || By Michael Romain || @maywoodnews
Since the for-profit college ITT Technical Institute announced earlier this month that it was abruptly closing its more than 130 campuses across the country, the reports of the institution’s apparent deception and fraud have started to trickle out.
Over at Gizmodo, reporter Michael Nunez interviewed dozens of former ITT students and faculty members before reaching the conclusion that the college “had been selling tenuous diplomas at exorbitant prices for more than 20 years.”
“The company had been taking millions in federal grant money, burying low-income and first-generation students in insurmountable debt, and evading regulators since the early 1990s—all while its CEO and other executives personally profited from the fraud.”
But before there was ITT, there was Everest College, a for-profit college with a campus once located on North Ave. in Melrose Park. Everest closed in 2014, done in by many of the same practices that got ITT into trouble with the federal government.
An ABC 7 investigative report published August 2014 noted that Illinois Sen. Dick Durbin accused Corinthian, Everest’s parent company, “of defrauding taxpayers by leaving students saddled with unmanageable loads of student loan debt.”
A new report published Sept. 20 by the Center of Investigative Reporting’s Reveal shows what that fraudulence looked like, particularly at the shuttered Melrose Park campus.
“If a prospect entered the admissions office at Corinthian’s Everest College in Melrose Park, Illinois,” the Reveal report notes, “recruiters were trained to keep them there ‘until they had enrolled,’ federal investigators said.”
“Often, recruiters used pressure tactics designed to exploit perceived psychological weaknesses: Parents would be told that a Corinthian education was “their best or only chance to help their children,” federal regulators said in their lawsuit.
“The promise of career success was at the heart of the recruitment pitch. Recruiters marshaled impressive statistics to buttress their claims that a Corinthian education promised “a better career, a better life, a better way to get there,” as advertisements put it. But key assertions in the sales pitch just weren’t true, regulators said.”