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FTC targets Stratford Career Institute over misleading advertising allegations

By Mark Iandolo | Feb 19, 2016

WASHINGTON (Legal Newsline) — The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) took action against Stratford Career Institute by charging the online distance education school with allegations of misleading consumers but its high school equivalency program.

The FTC’s complaint charges Stratford uses multiple references to “high school diploma” in its advertising and that the diploma will lead to an increase in earnings potential, access to better jobs and promotions and the ability to apply for higher education. The FTC alleges Stratford falls short of these promises, and that consumers pay as much as $989 for a diploma that cannot help them.

“Stratford promised that its high school program could help students get better jobs and access higher education,” said Jessica Rich, director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection. “For many students, those promises were false because schools and employers rejected Stratford’s supposed ‘diploma.’”

The commission voted 4-0 to authorize the staff to file the complaint, which was then filed in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Ohio.

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