Jason Sobek, a former admissions supervisor at Education Management Corporation (“EDMC”), the country’s second-largest operator of for-profit colleges, has filed a lawsuit charging that EDMC’s marketing materials deceived prospective students by falsely inflating job placement statistics. In an interview with ABC News, Mr. Sobek stated that in developing these statistics, EDMC included students working in jobs which did not require the degree that they had obtained from the educational institution. According to Mr. Sobek, information he obtained from the company prior to his departure, demonstrates a pattern of counting students as landing great jobs to create a false impression for future students. For instance, he contends that EDMC claimed that a fashion marketing graduate, an accounting major and a business graduate were placed in jobs related to their degrees while the company’s data showed that these individuals were, respectively, selling shoes, a cashier at a fast food restaurant and a janitor.
Sarah Fisher, a graduate of EDMC’s business management program at Brown Mackie College in South Bend, Indiana, stated that she believes the company made false promises to her when she was told that she would be earning $35,000 to $40,000 per year. Brown Mackie also apparently claimed that Ms. Fisher’s job at Walmart was related to her business management degree even though she obtained that position before she graduated. According to Ms. Fisher, she, not Brown Mackie, placed herself in that job. Ms. Fisher stated that prospective employers do not take her degree seriously and that the school had no right to claim to prospective students that her employment at Walmart was a placement success. She also stated that she is in debt for a degree she can’t use.
EDMC has stated that it believes Mr. Sobek’s claims to be wholly without merit and that Mr. Sobek was not employed in a career services role while with the company. EDMC also stated that for more than 40 years, its schools have adhered to the highest ethical standards.
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