Legal Question in Education Law in California


I'm trying to get some info on an issue I have related to a Jr. college I've been attending. I've had both teachers in the degree program I'm pursuing, and the dean of the dept. tell me, off the record, that they thought that the school had allowed the relevancy of their I.T. program to deteriorate over the years to the point that it is nearly worthless to any potential employer. I filed a complaint with the school about this issue and to my surprise; they determined that it should be eliminated. (Not only were the courses irrelevant, but the instructors was awful as well) I was also thanked along the way by the schools VP and HR director. I was told that my complaint was their motivation for inquiry into the program.

So, now I'm stuck with a worthless degree. (And believe me, worthless isn’t just my opinion, I can prove it.) Through relentless pursuit, I've been able to get the schools HR director to offer me the choice of either returning my tuition or have the school pay for an online course. Both choices are unacceptable to me.( a year and a half of my life is worth more than a couple of grand and online education is the next great con in the scam that is the American educational system.) Last year when the school was going through its accreditation review I had an opportunity to speak with the person who was heading up the review committee. She also happens to be chancellor of the Jr College in Merced California. She said she was appalled by what I had to tell her about the conduct of the school. Her advice to me was to go through the schools chain of command and at every step of the way, ask that the school hire an adjunct professor to teach me the things I should have learned had the school had a decent program to begin with. I also remember her using the words like “disgusted” when I told her about how misleading the schools catalog was for pretending to offer IT courses that haven't made available in the schools semester class schedule going all the way back to the year 2000. (If I remember correctly, over 30% of the IT courses in their catalog had never been offered for at least the last 13 years. Why isn’t this false advertising? I chose to pursue this degree in good part based on the courses that were listed in their catalog.)

Not being a lawyer, I obviously have no idea whether they violated the law or not. But they sure as hell acted with an incredibly amount apathy for allowing the program to fall in such a sad state of disrepair. And then with an incredible amount of arrogance and complete disregard for their obligation to serve the interests of the community they claim to represent. I’ve read articles related to educational malpractice and how difficult it has been to prove. But, every article that I’ve read on the subject also states by the author that they feel the tide is beginning to turn on this issue as well. I hope a sharp attorney sees that my particular case may be that chink in their armor that they’ve been looking for.

Asked on 8/31/13, 3:22 pm

1 Answer from Attorneys

Andrew Harrell W. Andrew Harrell, Attorney at Law

I'm assuming that this is an AA degree, based on two years of study. You should be able to recover damages for the lost two years, including the direct costs of tuition, fees, books, or whatever the cost of alternative schooling is. You may also be able to recover for the estimated lost income from the delay in entering the workforce. If there was true (intentional) misrepresentation, then you may have additional damages for this tort. We are one of the few plaintiff's attorney firms that specializes in higher education law. Call us next week.

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Answered on 8/31/13, 3:45 pm

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