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Archive for Sunday, July 29, 2001

Tech school’s credits investigated

July 29, 2001

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— The state attorney general's office is investigating allegations that a struggling technical college promised students more than it could deliver.

Some students at Topeka Technical College said the college assured them their credits would transfer to a four-year university, but they have since learned the credits aren't accepted by many schools.

Mark Ohlemeier, a spokeswoman for Atty. Gen. Carla Stovall, confirmed the investigation last week. He said Stovall's office has received 13 complaints alleging misrepresentation by the college.

But an official with Education America Inc., the parent company that plans to close the college next year, said Topeka Technical College has no control over where its credits are accepted.

"We do not control the transferability of credits," said Pedro DeGuzman, vice president and chief operating officer. "That is something we are very up-front and honest to the students about."

DeGuzman said students sign an enrollment agreement stating Education America Inc. didn't guarantee transferability.

"We've met with the attorney general's office. We know we have a handful of students who aren't happy with things," he said.

Ohlemeier said he couldn't say when the attorney general's office might complete its investigation and that complaints are still being received.

DeGuzman said the school's programs weren't designed with the idea of students transferring the credits to a university.

"This is pretty much a terminal degree," he said.

Education America Inc. announced July 5 that it would close Topeka Technical College in October 2002 after the graduation of current students. The college has stopped enrolling new students. The company cited a struggle with low enrollment and economic and regulatory conditions as responsible.

Employees at Washburn University, Kansas State University and Kansas University confirmed that they did not accept the school's credits.

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