Attorney General Bonta Celebrates Latest Win Upholding $21 Million Penalty against Ashford University for Defrauding Students Nationwide

Tuesday, February 20, 2024
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OAKLAND — California Attorney General Rob Bonta today celebrated the decision by the California Court of Appeal affirming a lower court’s decision which found in the state’s favor in its lawsuit against Ashford University, an online, for-profit college, and its parent company Zovio, Inc. (formerly Bridgepoint Education). Today’s decision largely upholds the March 2022 judgment against Ashford University and Zovio for violating California’s unfair competition and false advertising laws by giving students false or misleading information about career outcomes, cost and financial aid, pace of degree programs, and transfer credits, in order to persuade them to enroll at Ashford. As part of today’s decision, the court affirmed the trial court’s judgment in all but one respect and ordered Ashford University and Zovio to pay more than $21 million in penalties, adjusting the penalty downward by less than $1 million. 

“Today’s decision is a big win for consumers who trusted and invested in Ashford and believed this for-profit college would provide immense opportunity,” said Attorney General Bonta. “Ashford made false promises to students about the value of an Ashford degree, leaving students with mounting debt, broken promises, and searching for a job. This is unacceptable and illegal, and today we got justice. I am proud to fight for the rights of consumers and am committed to ensuring businesses can never take advantage of vulnerable students again.”

A copy of the decision can be found here.

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