NEW YORK ( MainStreet) — At the center of the student loan crisis are--you guessed it--student loans. But what if you went to a school that refused to accept them?
Ashworth College, a for-profit distance learning vendor, won't take them.
"Ashworth does not accept or offer Federal financial aid--Title IV funds--or private student loans because the College strongly believes that higher education should be affordable and that students should be able to complete their program without the burden of student loans," said Ashworth CEO Rob Klapper. "To make that possible, Ashworth strives to make its tuition affordable, with per-credit tuition that typically tracks the cost of community college. Ashworth also offers flexible payment options so students can 'pay as they go.'” Klapper stated that “Ashworth students graduate without student loan debt."
Ashworth has some of the trappings of a traditional college: a coat of arms, a mascot (the Knights), school colors (maroon and white) and a motto: Ditto cum Scientia. Founded in 1987, it has a current enrollment of some 50,000 students.
But the Norcross, Ga.-based cyber school also has the stigma of other for-profit colleges--it has been sanctioned by a federal regulator, specifically for violations of the Federal Trade Commission Act.
This week, Ashworth settled charges filed by the Federal Trade Commission that the school deceived its students through the way it marketed its online college degree and career-training programs. The FTC alleges some degrees and programs offered by Ashworth failed to meet basic educational requirements set by state licensing boards for careers or jobs such as elementary school teachers, home inspectors, massage practitioners, real estate appraisers and others.
A proposed stipulated court order prohibits Ashworth College from asserting that: