Three University of Southern California (USC) students filed a lawsuit against the school and a public company for defrauding students by misleading US News and World Report rankings from the Rossier School of Education.
The lawsuit was filed by the National Student Legal Defense Network and Tycko & Zavareei LLP on behalf of three named students and other students who were defrauded, according to a press release.
“Earlier this year, USC came under intense scrutiny after the university released a report detailing how the Dean of the Rossier School of Education instructed administrators to intentionally withhold information from US News & World Report in order to maintain their ranking improve,” the press release said. “USC withdrew Rossier from annual assessments following the report, citing “a history of inaccuracies.”
Plaintiffs allege that USC and 2U, Inc. used “fake” US news rankings, which reflected only an in-person program, to trick students into enrolling in the university’s online programs.
The only time USC appeared in the ranking of online graduate education programs was in 2013, when it ranked 44th, the press release said.
The lawsuit alleges that the dean of the USC Rossier School of Education said its online doctoral program would cause the school to “fall like a stone” in US news rankings. But despite this information, USC and 2U continued to promote the personal rankings as they promoted the online programs through targeted online advertising and other means to entice prospective students to enroll more students in the online program.
Publicly traded online program management company 2U took responsibility for recruiting the students, the lawsuit says, and “received a significant percentage of the tuition.”
University officials declined to comment on the matter as they had not received the official complaint by Tuesday.
“It’s not hard to see the solid line here — USC deliberately falsified data to inflate their US news ranking and 2U used the wrong numbers to pad their profits,” said Eric Rothschild, student defense litigation director. “Both USC and 2U’s actions have hurt countless students who thought this data would help them make an informed enrollment decision. Instead, they were lured into a fabricated profit system at the expense of their financial and academic future.”
https://nypost.com/2022/12/21/usc-lawsuit-alleges-school-used-doctored-rankings-to-lure-students/ The USC lawsuit alleges the school used manipulated rankings to attract students