Whistleblower Jason Sobek
The whistleblower case against for-profit college giant Education Management Corporation (EDMC) was profiled in an investigative report on ABC World News. James Hoyer Client Jason Sobek was interviewed and explained why he came forward to expose practices he believes are hurting, not only students, but also taxpayers.
Reporter Mark Greenblatt shared internal documents that show EDMC falsely inflated job placement statistics.
“They manipulated the job placement rates by counting students working in a job that they did not need the degree for,” Sobek told ABC News. “In my opinion, it’s a wretched fraud.”
EDMC is the 2nd largest for-profit college operator in the country. It owns The Art Institutes, Brown Mackie, South University and Argosy University. Sobek is a former Assistant Director of Admissions who recruited students to sign up for South University Online.
The story also profiles Brown Mackie student Sarah Fisher who graduated with an Associate’s Degree in Business Management. Fisher works as a Customer Service Representative at Walmart, a job she found on her own while still attending school. Since graduating, she’s been unable to find a job in her field of study, but internal EDMC documents show the school counted her as a successful job placement.
In addition, the documents Sobek shared show a Fashion Marketing graduate who works as a shoe salesman and an Accounting graduate who works as a McDonald’s cashier were also counted as successful job placements. Sobek believes counting these graduates as successful job placements is misleading. He says the company uses them to inflate job placement statistics presented to potential students to get them to sign up and get their financial aid dollars.
ABC News asked U.S. Senator Dick Durbin, the Assistant Majority Leader of the Senate, to review the internal EDMC job placement records. After his review, Senator Durbin issued a powerful rebuke.
“It’s just plain fraud and your whistle-blower has brought it to light,” Durbin told ABC News. “These students get sucked in by these ads, sign up for debt, sign up for courses that lead to nowhere,” Durbin says..