While reading the APAD Weblog, I found that Brooks Institute of Photography , located in Santa Barbara and Ventura, CA and subject of my first post, faces possible closure over false recruiting claims. According to the Los Angeles Times:
After a review that included an undercover visit, the Bureau for Private Postsecondary and Vocational Education told Brooks to prepare for closure in 2007 if it does not meet a number of conditions, including giving an undetermined sum in restitution to students who have attended since 1999.
In its review, the state concluded that Brooks routinely inflated claims of its graduates’ success in order to draw new students. Posing as a fledgling photographer, an agency employee was told by an admissions counselor earlier this year that she could expect to make $50,000 to $150,000 in her first year out of school.
“The sky’s the limit,” the counselor told her, according to the state’s report.
But agency officials contend that the limit is considerably lower, saying their investigation found that only 45 of the school’s 151 graduates from the class of 2003 are working full time. They make an average of about $26,000 and owe $74,000 in loans, according to the state’s report.
This sounds strikingly similar to what I experienced when I was enrolling in the Fall of 2003. I was told by the admissions advisor that Brooks had a high graduation rate and an excellent job placement rate, finding jobs for 90% of its graduates. With tuition costing around three to four thousand dollars every two months, job placement and average salary was question that was in the front of everyone’s mind heading in to Brooks. While at orientation this question eventually came up, and we were told by instructor and photographer P.F. Bentley that we should not worry and that our loans would be repaid in a few years.
Also, while attending Brooks, Career Education Corp. faced allegations of lying about the services that it offered its students and faced losing its private accreditation. At that time we received a letter from the President assuring the students that Brooks would pass inspection and remain accredited. Being curious, I logged on to my personal Brooks site (yes I am still able to sign on, though I have not been enrolled for over a year) to find a similar letter to the current students: