Victims of Stratford Career Institute High School Diploma Scam to Receive Refunds
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Victims of Stratford Career Institute High School Diploma Scam to Receive Refunds

The supposed high school equivalency program failed to meet the basic requirements set by most states

January 19, 2018

Consumers who were duped by a fake high school equivalency program can soon expect a check in the mail.

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is mailing 8,043 refund checks totaling more than $216,000 to people who paid Stratford Career Institute to earn what they thought was a high school diploma.

misled Consumers

In February 2016, the FTC charged that Stratford Career Institute misled consumers about its high school "diploma" program, which failed to meet the basic requirements set by most states.

Consumer complaints and Stratford's records showed that consumers who tried to use the company's diplomas were often told by prospective employers and college admissions officers that the program was not equivalent to a traditional high school diploma.

Students' right to cancel enrollment

Under the terms of a settlement reached with the FTC, Stratford is now prohibited from making false claims about educational programs and, when marketing high school equivalency programs, it is required to disclose that some schools and employers may not recognize the diploma or equivalency credential.

The settlement also requires Stratford to notify current students of their right to cancel enrollment in the high school diploma program, and to stop efforts to collect money from those who cancel.

Consumers who receive a refund in this case should deposit or cash those checks within 60 days.

Watch out for scams

Remember, the FTC never requires consumers to pay money or provide personal information to cash refund checks. If anyone asks for such information, it could be a scam. Any suspected fraud attempts should be reported to the FTC immediately.

Those with questions about this case or the refund process should contact the FTC's refund administrator, Analytics, at (844) 402-8577.

To learn more about the FTC's refund program, visit ftc.gov/refunds.