A Class Action Lawsuit Has Been Filed Against Walden University
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Lawsuit Claims Walden University, A For-Profit School, Preyed On Black And Female Students

Walden University
A lawsuit filed against Walden University suit claims it misrepresented the costs and credits required for an advanced degree and targeted minority communities. (Image: Twitter)

A class-action lawsuit has been filed against for-profit school Walden University claiming it participated in a scheme to lure and trap students, specifically Black and female students, in a cycle of debt and despair.

The New York Times reports the National Student Legal Defense Network filed the class-action suit in January on behalf of numerous former students who say that Walden violated not only consumer protection laws but also Title VI of the Civil Rights Act by targeting minorities and women and misrepresenting the costs and credits needed to get an advanced degree.

Aljanal Carroll, who enrolled at Walden University in 2017 to earn a doctorate in business administration, was told she could complete her doctoral degree in 18 months. Carroll easily made it through the coursework; however, she ran into numerous issues when it came to her “capstone project,” essentially her dissertation.

Carroll said the review committee assigned to her project took weeks to deliver feedback, which typically amounted to simple grammatical errors, yet required her to make revisions starting the process over again.

By the time Carroll’s project was approved, she had invested three years and more than $10,000 in tuition costs.

“It started to make me feel like I couldn’t write or speak, which didn’t make sense because I’d just earned a 4.0 for my master’s,” Carroll, 49, told the Times. “I knew it didn’t seem right, but I was so far in it, I couldn’t turn back.”

The class-action suit, filed in federal court in Maryland, alleges Walden intentionally stretched out the dissertation process, which required students to re-enroll for multiple years and spend thousands more on tuition than they had anticipated. The suit estimates students were charged more than $28.5 million in additional tuition costs. Former students also claim Walden participated in “reverse redlining” by targeting minority communities and women with its advertising.

“Walden lured in students with the promise of an affordable degree, then strung them along to increase profits,” said Aaron Ament, the president of the National Student Legal Defense Network. “As if that’s not bad enough, Walden specifically targeted Black students and women for this predatory program, masking its discrimination as a focus on diversity.”

Walden, which has faced similar lawsuits and claims, denied the claims, saying its mission is to serve a diverse community. The school has filed a motion to dismiss the suit, calling the lawsuit “baseless and an inflammatory attempt to repackage Walden’s school mission into calculated discrimination.”

Walden also added that in 2020, it awarded doctorate degrees to a higher number of Black and female students than any other U.S. university.

Black students in the U.S.are often victims when it comes to college tuition and student loan debt. For many, taking out expensive loans is the only way to pay for college, but doing so lands many in a financial nightmare as it can take years to decades to pay off the loans after finishing school.