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Lawsuit Claims Virginia College is Guilty of Fraud

By Daniel Cherry | Published 31 Jul 2012 08:20pm | comments
A report from a U.S. Senate panel says students who attend for-profit colleges leave with high debt and many of those don't even graduate. MPB's Daniel Cherry reports how several students of Virginia College in Jackson are suing the school.
 
Crystal Larkin, a single mother of two, finished the Medical Assistants program at Virginia College. She claims the certification provided by the school doesn't meet the minimum requirements for her to find a good job. Now she says she's saddled with student loan debt holding a certification that's worthless.
 
"It's not fair. It's not fair to us because we're already broke and then we're trying to make a better life for our children...I was devastated when I found out my credentials weren't what they're supposed to be."
 
A federal lawsuit filed on behalf of seven women, alleges Virginia College in Jackson is guilty of fraud, breach of contract, and negligence. Whitney Barkley is a staff attorney with the Mississippi Center for Justice and is representing the women. Barkley says the students didn't get enough blood draws on live patients or sticks.
 
"It's a college's right to charge as much as they want to charge for a degree so what we're really concerned about is making sure that the training lives up to the cost of the program. That's where we come back to alleging that our plaintiffs didn't do enough sticks to be employed in the field."
 
Barkley says typically 50 to 100 sticks are required to be hired, but some students say they only got 2 or 3 on dummy arms. Attorney Robert Gibbs is defending Virginia College.
 
"Even though we don't comment on the allegations, I can say that we deny the allegations in the lawsuit, and Virginia College is going to vigorously defend those allegations."
 
A pending lawsuit filed last year by another group of students accuses Virginia College of offering programs that aren't properly accredited with the state.

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