Emerson Settles With Cuomo

July 22, 2009

Emerson College, in Massachusetts, has agreed to pay $780,000 back to students and to reform some aid practices to resolve an investigation by New York Attorney General Andrew M. Cuomo. About 4,000 students will receive refunds, including about 400 who are New Yorkers. (Massachusetts officials also participated in the probe.) Cuomo said that the college urged students to borrow money from lenders who did not necessarily offer the best deals. "The Attorney General’s investigation revealed that Emerson had engaged in a host of deceptive practices that hurt the financial interests of its students," said a statement from Cuomo. "Emerson’s financial aid office encouraged students to use lenders from Emerson’s 'preferred' lender list. The investigation found that lenders that appeared on this list provided Emerson’s financial aid staff with expense-paid trips to resorts, free meals, tickets to professional sporting events, and payments for attending lender advisory board meetings. In addition, Emerson’s preferred lenders provided the college with a variety of free and discounted goods and services, including temporary staffing, printing services, donations, and software." The settlement indicated that the improper practices have all ended.

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