Risky for-profit colleges need better oversight

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Jennifer Kerr took a mighty leap of faith when she sued a for-profit college for misrepresenting what kind of degree she'd be earning and its value to her future. Tucked into her contract with Vatterott Educational Centers Inc. was a provision that, should she sue and lose, Kerr would be responsible for Vatterott's legal costs.

The Kansas City-area woman's gamble paid off last month when a jury ordered the corporation to pay her $27,676 in actual damages - about the amount of money she took out in student loans - and a stunning $13 million in punitive damages. The verdict is outside the limits set by Missouri law and will be lowered, but it is a validation of Kerr's case and a shining example of the justice system coming through for an underdog.

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