Westwood College Being Sued By State

Attorney General Lisa Madigan's suit accuses college of misleading students.


The Illinois attorney general's office filed suit Wednesday against , according to Chicago Tribune, for misleading students in its criminal justice program and saddling them with debt for a degree that, in many cases, can't get them a job. 

Westwood College has four campuses in Illinois, including one at Cumberland and Higgins on the Park Ridge-Chicago border. It's close to Niles and Des Plaines and, because it sits almost at the entrance to the Cumberland Station on the CTA Blue Line, many local residents may pass it frequently.

The lawsuit follows more than 100 students complaints against the college, according to the AP

Complaints of the for-profit college's criminal justice program include, "poor job-placement rates, high-pressure sales tactics, low graduation rates, excessive profit margins and the burdening of students with crushing debt," according to the Trib

Students can't find jobs because Westwood's criminal justice program is nationally accredited, not regionally accredited, according to a draft of the suit, which means the degree is not recognized by law enforcement employers like the Chicago Police Department, the Illinois State Guard and many suburban police departments. 

Another issue? The cost of the degree, according to the suit. Total tuition for a law enforcement degree at Westwood is $71,610, compared with $12,672 at the regionally-accredited College of DuPage. 

A Westwood spokesman told the Tribune the college was cooperating with the attorney general's office to resolve any issues. Westwood also requires students to initial a policy stating the program is nationally, not regionally, accredited. 

The suit seeks to "revoke, forfeit, or suspend" Westwood's criminal justice program and "assess a civil penalty of $50,000 per violation of the state's Consumer Fraud Act," according to the Tribune. 

Agnieszka Rosa January 19, 2012 at 01:40 PM
i agree
Agnieszka Rosa January 19, 2012 at 01:42 PM
I would love to get involved in this lawsuit. This is just out of control. I'm debt 80000 for my Criminal Justice and i have not job in my filed. all i pay is intrest. my loans very from 300 to 500 a month . this is wrong ! please includ me or add me to this LAWSUIT bolkunowicz@att.net
George January 19, 2012 at 02:08 PM
I attended 2003 - 2005 for a AS in Network Engineering. Their job assistance is them taking ads from the internet and then printing out for students. Anyone could do this, they do NOT help at all in job placement whatsoever!
Robert January 19, 2012 at 04:56 PM
I graduated in 2002 with a Graphic Design Associate degree. It seems like after you graduate, they forget you. I wonder if I can get involved in the lawsuit.
David Ahamnos January 19, 2012 at 05:38 PM
I was their in 2002 and they promissed me that they would help me find a job related to Computer Network Admin B.A Degree. They took advantage of me being a single parent and over promissed on everything. Long story short, They should me the latest jobs which were ads pulled from the newspaper. Does anyone remember seeing the work at home ads they pulled and OfficeMax ads placed for everyone to see in the main office by Finacial aid in Woodridge, Il. as their latest job leads? I highly recommend any think of attending this school should save their monies and go some else. Oh, and they kept raising my school tuition that I had to pay monthly because you only get so much for financial aid.
Frank Medina January 19, 2012 at 06:40 PM
I actually alluded to this late last year in an article for Patch: http://desplaines.patch.com/articles/five-things-you-should-know-before-applying-to-college . I think students should also take at least some of the blame for falling for this fraud because they failed to do the research necessary to avoid falling victim.
Pam DeFiglio (Editor) January 19, 2012 at 06:56 PM
Frank, great to hear from you!
sandra.miranda January 20, 2012 at 01:43 AM
WOW, I also graduated a year ago in healthcare management and still working in the same positon that I had before I started school also my resume has been in career builder and elsewhere and no answer from website nor westwood..and yes Im in dept for 53,000.00
roy feltson January 20, 2012 at 02:25 AM
I would like to get involved with this. Lawsuit to. I attended the wood ridge westwood college. Rfeltson@yahoo.com
Pam DeFiglio (Editor) January 20, 2012 at 02:57 PM
I've notified the AG's office about those who have left their email addresses here, so they're aware of them--at least as of yesterday.
Pam DeFiglio (Editor) January 21, 2012 at 05:31 PM
Thank you, Me thinks2! Your comment was very helpful and much appreciated. Frank got a "great to hear from you" because he used to write for Niles Patch. I hope you'll become a regular commenter. The info you provided could start some Westwood alums on the path to justice, and I appreciate you taking the time to post the info.
Christian Gomez February 29, 2012 at 06:34 AM
Pam DeFiglio can you please get me involved in this lawsuit. I am a US Marine now with 30 thousand in debt for one year at this horrific useless school. Frank everone makes mistakes and this was a robbery. Thanks Pam. christiangomez99@gmail.com
msbraxton85 March 04, 2012 at 06:37 AM
i attended westwood college for three months and i currently owe sallie mae over three thousand dollars. once i became aware that the college was not accredited and the financial debt i was facing, i had no choice but to leave!!!!
Camille March 07, 2012 at 09:50 PM
If anyone wants to share stories or knows how to sign a petition to get Westwood OFF the radar for colleges to attend, please contact me @ camilledefalco@sbcglobal.net
Camille March 07, 2012 at 09:53 PM
I am also a graduate of Westwood College (the Higgins and Cumberland location) and it makes me sick to my stomach to think about the student loans I owe from attending that college. I literally lose sleep over it time and time again. I graduated in 2007 with a BS in Criminal Justice. It took me a while to decide what I wanted to do after high school and when I finally decided, Westwood was my choice (I have to say that the commercials definitely influenced my decision). I made an interview with them and after learning about what they offered I decided to attend college there. They made it sound so promising with the accelerated program and receiving your Bachelors in 3 years instead of the standard 4. I even remember a chart they showed me of salaries and guaranteed I would come out of there making lots of money. Of course they would't let me out of the door without first assuring I would sign the contract to attend their college. When I look back on it now it was the biggest mistake I have ever made. It's really sad to say that about going to school. At the time I was so excited to attend college and get a degree in something I was passionate about and I cdnt wait to start school. Almost 5 years later I am not even using my degree and stuck with making monthly payments, of pretty much what a mortgage would cost, for the rest of my life, literally!! I feel that Westwood and Sallie Mae are the biggest scamers! WW with a useless education and Sallie Mae with ridic interest!
Carlos March 08, 2012 at 02:54 PM
i think frank is full of it he ass would be the first one to fall for a scam you can do all the research you want but if theirs nothing said about the college and its all hearsay then you would be in a bind too. I dont think scams is only for those who dont think ahead, anyone can fall victim of it including you, you sir aint special. And as for the school defrauding people i think they are known for their reputation not only in illinois but in all 48 states nation wide so its a national problem people have with this school. This school needs to be taken down and the people responsible need to be held accountable.
James Riggio April 03, 2012 at 07:16 PM
I am wondering how to get into this as well. My friends and I were all in the Game Software Development program and needless to say NONE of us are working in that field. Our degree there wasn't worth the paper it was printed on. Any advice would be great. James Riggio Jamespriggio@gmail.com
Garrison Dean May 01, 2012 at 08:22 PM
Pam, please email me with information about how to get involved with this lawsuit. I went to online school with Westwood Game Design in Denver. I now owe thousands in loans and just want to get my name cleared so I can provide for my family. wailer247@hotmail.com
Everett Hubbard May 18, 2012 at 12:54 PM
Please involve me as well. I attended 2005 - 2009 for the Game Design program. Contact email is everett.hubbard@gmail.com
Lanita July 25, 2012 at 07:46 AM
This is crazy! I start August 1, 2012. I sure the hell want be, after reading all the comments. Excuse my language but they got me fucked up. Im calling first thing in the morning & cancelling my enrollment. They want need a law suit from me cause I bet I want be owing nothing!!! Lol this is really crazy! Thanks for the heads up. Next time ill do my homework
ramon palacios October 11, 2012 at 09:51 PM
I went to ww in houston,tx from 08-09..i got coerced to sign eventually screwed over i have a 20,000 debt and struggling i would like to get involved in this law suit if any can please email me...ramonpalacios@ymail.com....thanks n best of luck to everyone
Grant Wojciechowski October 18, 2012 at 05:19 AM
I would like to be involved in this as well, 2008-2011, Computer Animation course at the Chicago O'Hare campus.
Grant Wojciechowski October 18, 2012 at 09:38 PM
grant.wojciechowski@gmail.com is my email, guess I forgot to put that in
tim October 23, 2012 at 01:14 AM
I graduated in 2004 with a Graphic Design Associate degree. It seems like after you graduate you could return for refreshers in 2007. they forced me to sing up for the bachelors program. I thought it wouldn't be a bad idea. Once classes started up. I found out the the class codes changed. I ended up in classes i took and payed for. I was in class and ended up doping out because they would look at old classes... I wonder if I can get involved in the lawsuit.!!!! Porter11tr@gmali.com
Jonathan smith December 14, 2012 at 07:26 PM
I'd like to get involved as well I graduated with a bachelors in animation back in 08 I believe they wouldn't help find a job and what work they could find had absolutely nothing to do with my major and involved a lot of physical labor, on top of that I was left with about 80,000 dollars in loans to pay which I couldn't and still can't pay on my own and rely on help from my parents to pay so they don't screw up my credit. So I'm all for this lawsuit here is my email please contact me if there is any thing that can be done Jonryan001@sbcglobal.net
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Gavin Gast March 12, 2013 at 03:37 AM
My name is Gavin I would also like to get involved in the lawsuit as well westwood claims I ow them 9,000$ and sold my loan to the eos cca, they took my taxes my email is gavin.gast@yahoo.com Thank you Gavin Gast.
Megan April 26, 2013 at 01:39 PM
I asked lots of questions when registering they even went on to tell me I didn't qualify for financial aid. I just do happen to call financial aid one day while I was working on my degree at Westwood and found out it wasn't me who didn't qualify for financial aid its the school. What a rip off and no credits transfer so I have a useless piece of paper worth 10,000 dollars . If someone can help me please tell me how to file a lawsuit against them. Jewely40@gmail.com
Blogger Babe July 23, 2013 at 07:38 PM
I attended Westwood College of O'Hare and graduated August/2012 in business. I attended this school so I can better my future but instead I put myself in a debt $70k. I haven't found NO Job yet and its been almost a year of being unemployed. The school has not promised what they promised me that they would help me find a job in my field, that has NOT happened. This school is a complete joke and scam. I don't know what to do, my only option is to file a lawsuit against them. This is not fair, I have wasted three years in this crap shack and wasted my time thinking I would be working in my field by now. But no, I'm stressed and depressed and angry. This "so called college" should be under investigation. At this point I don't even want there fake degree.
ALONSO MATA September 10, 2013 at 03:42 PM
my name is alonso mata i was a victim too over $20,000 can you add me to the lawsuit alonsomata2005@yahoo.com thanks


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