Indiana company ordered to pay back Minnesota students' loans

Lori Swanson
Minnesota Attorney General Lori Swanson addresses the Minnesota Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party Convention after she was endorsed for reelection by acclimation, Saturday, May 31, 2014, in Duluth, Minn.
Jim Mone | AP file

Minnesota Attorney General Lori Swanson said Monday an Indiana company tricked at least 800 Minnesota college students into paying thousands of dollars under a promise it would quickly jumpstart their nursing careers.

The College Network signed students up for study guides to help them test out of certain college credits, Swanson said. The company also arranged loans for the students to pay for proficiency exams and promised it would pay back those test fees, but it never did.

Swanson said the company arranged $4,000 loans for the students to take the tests. Students then accrued 12 percent interest rates on financing arranged by The College Network.

Swanson said most of the students enrolled in the program were nontraditional college students. Some were single parents who thought they found a quick way to earn their degrees.

"Only it hampered their life because they weren't getting their fee money back then some couldn't take the tests, thereby it actually slowed them down," she said. "In other cases they had to go work overtime to get the money to pay the test because they thought they had the money secured with these loans."

An order issued by Anoka County District Court barred The College Network from accepting exam fees from Minnesota customers. The court also ordered the company to promptly pay exam fees to existing students.

A message left for the company was not immediately returned.

Your support matters.

You make MPR News possible. Individual donations are behind the clarity in coverage from our reporters across the state, stories that connect us, and conversations that provide perspectives. Help ensure MPR remains a resource that brings Minnesotans together.