San Diego’s Northcentral University sued for allegedly defrauding its online students

San Diego’s Northcentral University sued for allegedly defrauding its online students

The San Diego Union Tribune

By Gary Robbins

Sept. 7, 2018

A little-known online university has been sued in U.S. District Court in San Diego for allegedly recruiting students by falsely promising them that they could quickly earn comparatively inexpensive doctoral degrees.

The class action lawsuit was filed Thursday against Northcentral University (NCU), a for-profit school located on Point Loma.

Court documents say that suit was filed on behalf of Christina Torres, a New York City doctoral student who claims to have attended NCU from 2010-17. Other plaintiffs could be added later.

“NCU’s doctoral programs were essentially bait-and-switch operations,” claims the lawsuit. “The bait was displayed when NCU’s marketing materials misled prospective students by promising that doctoral degrees would cost less, and take less time, to complete than the programs would actually take.

“For example, students seeking a Doctor of Education were told that it would take ‘3.5 years’ at a cost of $30,000. However, NCU’s own documents confirm that the Ed.D program was in fact ‘designed’ to take 83 months, or nearly 7 years, which would result in a cost exceeding $50,000.”

“When the students attempted to obtain their degree, they met an endless series of hurdles, delays, and tuition payments, resulting in students incurring unnecessary additional loans beyond those they expected to incur based on the time frames promised by NCU.”

David Harpool, provost of NCU, said in a statement to the Union-Tribune:

“Northcentral University takes our students’ concerns very seriously, and any concerns that we receive are carefully reviewed.

“Northcentral University is unique among doctoral degree-granting institutions, with a one-to-one teaching model (taught by a 100 percent doctoral faculty) and a proven track record of helping doctoral students complete both their dissertation and degree successfully.

“In fact, we have created an approach to dissertation completion that is unique in higher education and is specifically tailored for busy working professionals. Northcentral University has helped thousands of students successfully earn their doctoral degrees, and we are extremely proud of the programs we’ve developed to help them along their path.”

The lawsuit comes less than two months after the San Diego-based National University System announced that it intends to acquire NCU in a deal that’s expected to close by the end of the year.

The plan is to make NCU an affiliate that would provide National with something it needs — a larger number of affordable graduate courses.

National told the Union-Tribune on Friday that it has no comment on the lawsuit.

Peiffer Wolf Carr & Kane Continues Investigating

Peiffer Wolf Carr & Kane lawyers often represent individuals harmed by fraud, or other unfair or deceptive practices and are continuing to investigate Capella University’s doctoral programs. Most cases of this type are taken on a contingency fee basis, meaning that Peiffer Wolf Carr & Kane would advance the case costs, and only get paid for their fees and costs out of money they recover for their clients.

Capella students who believe they were victims of fraudulent conduct or misrepresentations by Capella should fill out an online Contact Form or contact attorney Paul Lesko at 314-833-4826 or at plesko@prwlegal.com for a FREE Consultation.