INDIANAPOLIS – While colleges and universities often claim to have relationships with well-known employers in order to convince students to attend, a recent lawsuit filed by the Federal Trade Commission shows those claims aren’t always true.

The most recent example of this can be found in New Jersey at Sollers College.  According to a complaint recently filed by the FTC and the state of New Jersey, Sollers College recruited students with the promise of 90% placement rates within months of graduation.  The college said it was partnered with well-known companies that were ready to hire its graduates.  In reality, the school’s placement rate was as low as 52% and many of the businesses listed had no relationship with the school.

Not only is a promise like this a strategy to get students in the door, according to the FTC, it’s also a way to encourage students to sign up for an income share agreement.  That’s when college or university will pay for your tuition, and you agree to pay it a percentage of your income for a certain number of years after graduation.

As a result of this lawsuit, Sollers college is now ordered to reimburse $3.4 million in student debt to those who believed the false promises about relationships with companies.

To avoid this, the FTC says you must do your own research when making college decisions.  Don’t rely on statements in those glossy brochures.  If a college or university claims to have relationships with companies you might be interested in, contact the company yourself and ask if it’s true.

You can also check the Department of Education’s College Scorecard website.  It has a lot of good information about different schools, including what percentage of students graduate, how much debt students have, and whether students are able to repay their loans.

As always, if you encounter a scam or shady deal, it’s a good idea to report it.  A situation like this is best handled by the FTC and you can report the case here.