Colorado Attorney General John Suthers announced the state has reached an agreement with Westwood College, Inc. to address allegations that the institution violated the Consumer Protection Act by misleading prospective students, engaging in deceptive advertising and failing to comply with Colorado’s consumer lending laws.
Under the settlement, Westwood will pay the state $2 million in penalties, restitution and attorneys fees and costs. Westwood also will credit another $2.5 million in restitution directly to students who financed their tuition with the school’s institutional financing, called APEX. The debt reduction is for all Westwood students who took out such financing any time from 2002 through December 2011. To receive debt reduction, a student’s account must still be “open” which means an account that still has an outstanding balance and that Westwood or a third party is collecting on. If a student stopped paying off the APEX debt and neither Westwood nor a third party collections agency is collecting, the student will not receive a debt reduction under this provision.
Westwood College will also reimburse APEX finance and excess charges to all Colorado Westwood students (students who attended Westwood College Online, Denver North, or Denver South campuses and had a Colorado address at the time they attended school). Excess charges include delinquency fees, default rates of interest higher than the note rate, and check fees. Westwood will reimburse Colorado students regardless of whether their account is open or closed. Westwood will instruct consumer reporting agencies to delete the previously reported information and notify any third-parties to whom it has sold or assigned any APEX debt of the amount of the reduced balance.
Westwood will complete a self-audit to determine which students are eligible for the finance charge reimbursement and will apply any credits to the student’s APEX account or provide financial reimbursement directly to the student if the account is closed. Students who would like to verify inclusion within the terms of the settlement are encouraged to contact Westwood College directly by sending an email inquiry to Financing@westwood.edu or by calling 303-846-1665. Students who wish to file a formal complaint against Westwood College or any other business may do so with the Office of the Attorney General via www.coloradoattorneygeneral.gov/complaint.
Please view the complete press release along with the consent judgment and the complaint for complete details of the settlement with all applicable provisions Westwood has agreed to for both current and prospective students.