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Federal investigation: College used strippers to help recruit students

fasttrain

Students might not be getting the best education, but at least a striptease comes with that student loan bill.

According to a federal lawsuit, Miami-based FastTrain College hired strippers and exotic dancers as “admissions representatives” and to help attract students.

The college “purposely hired attractive women and sometimes exotic dancers and encouraged them to dress provocatively while they recruited young men in neighborhoods to attend FastTrain,” the lawsuit states.

FastTrain, which used to operate seven Florida campuses, closed shortly after being raided by the FBI in 2012, the Miami Herald reported.

Between 2009 and mid-2012, FastTrain received more than $35 million in Pell grants and other federal financial aid, according to the lawsuit.

And in addition to its use of strippers, the school fraudulently obtained millions of those dollars, the lawsuit alleges. A whistleblower said that the school frequently falsified high school diplomas for students, a requirement for federal aid. The school would also lie on attendance records or find other methods to get students to attend because first-time students must attend classes for at least 30 days to get the federal dollars.

“FastTrain’s admissions representatives pressured the ineligible students they enrolled to attend classes for at least the first five days of the period,” the lawsuit states. “When students did not have transportation to get to a FastTrain campus at which they were enrolled, FastTrain’s admissions representatives would pick them up and take them to school.”

But while much of the school was fake, the high-dollar student loans many enrollees had to take out were very real.

The students enrolled around the time of the 2012 FBI raid can get their loans discharged under a “closed school” provision, the Miami Herald found, but students who withdrew or graduated earlier are not eligible for loan relief.

The federal lawsuit has identified at least 160 former FastTrain students who are now in default on their loans.


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