Jennifer Kerr’s decision to go to college at age 38 paid off big-time, just not in the way she expected.
Kerr, a mother of two, enrolled at for-profit Vatterott College in 2009 in what she was told was a medical assistant’s degree program. Kerr wanted to be a nurse, but Vatterott had no nursing program. But, her Vatterott advisor told her that with the medical assistant’s degree, she’d earn $15-$17 an hour and be on the “fast track” towards a career in nursing.
Unfortunately for Kerr, as noted by the Kansas City Star, her advisor’s advice wasn’t even close to being true.
After 60-weeks at the school, she found out she was enrolled in a medical office assistant’s program, not the medical assistant’s program. She was told by Vatterott she would need to take 30 more weeks of classes, and pay 30 more weeks of tuition, if she wanted her medical assistant’s degree.
Understandably, Kerr says she was “shocked and devastated” by the news. “I felt very deceived. I was totally deceived,” she said.
Kerr decided to take Vatterott to court, and did it ever pay off.
A judge ruled that Vatterott was in violation of the Missouri Merchandising Practices Act, and ordered Kerr to be paid $27,676 in actual damages and…wait for it… $13 million in punitive damages.
Now, before you go and purposefully enroll in the wrong program at Vatterott let me tell you something. The $13 million sum is way higher than Missouri law allows and is sure to be lessened by the time the case closes. Still, Kerr will get some nice money out of this. The law allows her to receive either $500,000 or five times the actual damages amount, whichever is greater.
To top everything off, Kerr says her degree has proved essentially worthless. “It’s not even a degree,” she said.
Kerr now works a job making baked goods, and although it’s not related to her coursework at Vatterott, she says it’s a good job.
Think twice before letting that 3 a.m. infomercial convince you to head back to school.
Source: Kansas City Star