Single mom, Jennifer Kerr had dreams of becoming a nurse to improve her family’s future. She saw many advertisements for Vetterott on television and decided to visit the admissions representative shortly after.
The school’s representative told her that the school did not offer a nursing degree but they did however offer a medical assistants degree which they claimed would put her on the, “fast track” to becoming a nurse. According to the Kansas City Star:
After securing more than $27,000 in loans and being in the program for nearly 60 weeks, Kerr said she was flabbergasted to learn that she wasn’t even enrolled in the medical assistant’s program. Instead, she was enrolled in the preliminary medical office assistant’s program. She said she was told that if she wanted to continue on and get the medical assistant’s degree, it would take a total of 90 weeks and cost her some $10,000 more.
The Jackson County Jury found in favor of Kerr and found that the Missouri-based Vatterott Educational Centers Inc. had, “violated the Missouri Merchandising Practices Act.” It ordered the corporation to pay Kerr $27,676 in actual damages and $13 million in punitive damages.
The Dark Side of the For-Profit College Industry
Kerr’s case is hardly the first to cast a negative light on the for-profit college industry, which has long been criticized for enrolling students into expensive courses of study that deliver degrees or diplomas that lead to few or low-paying jobs.