This report exposes a scheme by the failed for-profit coding bootcamp Make School, Inc. (Make School) and Dominican University (Dominican), a private, nonprofit college based outside of San Francisco. The report finds that Make School and Dominican drove hundreds of largely low-income students to each take on thousands of dollars of predatory private student loans and, for some, federal student loans, through promises of a high-paying tech career. Within this scheme, the report alleges that Dominican and Make School joined forces to mislead accreditors, state regulators, and prospective students about the education and financing these entities provided—all to ensure Make School would gain access to federal student aid dollars, despite its public track record of illegal practices.
This report follows a July 2021 lawsuit supported by the Student Borrower Protection Center (SBPC) wherein 47 former students sued Make School and its private lending partner, Vemo Education, Inc., alleging that the two firms “jointly engineered a predatory and exorbitantly high-cost” private student loan program.
During the course of the investigation that led to this report, SBPC sent a letter to U.S. Department of Education officials outlining a wide range of illegal practices committed by both Dominican and Make School, calling on the officials to immediately cancel all federal student loans made to students who pursued a degree through this scam program, and urging the Biden Administration to take action against Dominican University for its role in this scheme.
Read the Report: Selling Out Students: A Case Study in Brand-Name Schools Partnering with For-Profit Scammers to Make a Buck
Read the Press Release: New Investigation Exposes Years-Long Scheme by Private College and Failed Coding Bootcamp to Dupe Regulators and Push Predatory Loans on Low-Income Students
Read the Letter to the Department of Education: Enforcement Referral and Group Discharge Application: Make School/Dominican University Incubator
A copy of the documents and records uncovered during this investigation is available here: www.protectborrowers.org/sellingoutstudents_exhibits/
To learn more about the SBPC’s work related to shadow student debt, click here.