Virginia College, LLC is a target of a complaint of fraud brought by the Mississippi Center of Justice together with Warren L. Martin, Jr., P.A. and Kenya R. Martin, LLC. The complaint accuses the company of practices in violation of the Equal Credit Opportunity Act and the Title VI of the Civil Rights At of 1964.
The complaint, which was filed with the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Mississippi on behalf of multiple Virginia College students and former students, claims that the school deceived the complainants about its accreditation, the true cost of education and about the employment opportunities available to them after graduation.
The plaintiffs assert that Virginia College deliberately withheld information regarding employment prospects, did not have the accreditation accepted by area employers, failed to meet even its own accreditation agency’s standards, and provided false documentation of certification, thereby violating the law. Allegations include that the proprietary college has strategically targeted low-income African Americans and women with exploitative practices that negatively impacted their pursuit of advanced degrees or ability to secure gainful employment because their degrees are not recognized by regional schools or employers.
At the time when a college degree is vital to becoming successful in the job market, Virginia College lied to its students, who had put forth significant effort towards their studies, only to later find out the their degree didn’t meet general employer standards. Without advancing even a little bit on their path towards independence and financial self-sufficiency, they now find themselves with a serious student debt burden without a generally recognized certification, explained Whitney Barkley of the Mississippi Center for Justice.
The complaint was brought on the behalf of the students currently enrolled or graduated from the Virginia College’s Medical Assistants Program, who weren’t aware that the program didn’t meet the standards set out by the school’s accreditation agency.
“This establishment did not provide students with enough hands-on training to prepare them for the job market, did not place students in appropriate externships and falsely certified that they were qualified to be employed as medical assistants,” continued Barkley. “Virginia College’s medical assisting program does not meet the standards of its own accrediting agency.”
The aim of the lawsuit is in part to bring attention to the problem of non-uniform accreditation standards at many post-secondary institutions in the state and beyond, which makes it difficult for students to evaluate career-training opportunities and avoid programs that are less than legitimate.