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Illinois Attorney General Will Sue For-Profit College

January 18, 2012

The Illinois attorney general is planning to sue Westwood College, a for-profit institution with four campuses in the Chicago area, saying that it has misled students about its criminal justice program in ways that have left the students facing serious debts without employment prospects, The Chicago Tribune reported. The suit will charge that Westwood is inappropriately recruiting students for the program for a law enforcement career when Illinois requires its police officers to be graduates of regionally accredited institutions. Westwood is nationally accredited so its graduates aren't eligible for the jobs. The suit will say that Westwood "made a variety of misrepresentations and false promises." The students who are enrolling are paying much more than they would have to for a degree that would qualify them for the jobs, the suit says. It notes that to complete a degree in criminal justice at Westwood costs $71,610 (with many students borrowing heavily to pay), compared with $12,672 from the College of DuPage, a nonprofit regionally accredited college.

A Westwood spokesman issued this statement: "We continue to cooperate with the Illinois [attorney general] to resolve any outstanding issues. We are proud of our legacy of helping students obtain their educational goals. We have hundreds of graduates working in the private and public criminal justice field throughout the state of Illinois."

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Scott Jaschik

Scott Jaschik, Editor, is one of the three founders of Inside Higher Ed. With Doug Lederman, he leads the editorial operations of Inside Higher Ed, overseeing news content, opinion pieces, career advice, blogs and other features. Scott is a leading voice on higher education issues, quoted regularly in publications nationwide, and publishing articles on colleges in publications such as The New York Times, The Boston Globe, The Washington Post, Salon, and elsewhere. He has been a judge or screener for the National Magazine Awards, the Online Journalism Awards, the Folio Editorial Excellence Awards, and the Education Writers Association Awards. Scott served as a mentor in the community college fellowship program of the Hechinger Institute on Education and the Media, of Teachers College, Columbia University. He is a member of the board of the Education Writers Association. From 1999-2003, Scott was editor of The Chronicle of Higher Education. Scott grew up in Rochester, N.Y., and graduated from Cornell University in 1985. He lives in Washington.

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