Two schools found to have misled students say they don't have to pay everyone deceived, but the state of Minnesota disagrees. The two sides tangled over that question before the Minnesota Supreme Court Tuesday.
In 2016, a district court found the Minnesota School of Business and Globe University — which share ownership — told students they could get jobs as police or probation officers after completing a criminal justice program. But the degree didn't meet the standards to become a police officer in Minnesota.
The schools argue that the 15 students who testified during the district court case are the only students eligible to get restitution.
Brooke Anthony, an attorney for the for-profit schools, said that "if the state wanted to give monetary remedy to anyone who did not testify then the state had to prove that the non-testifying students were also subject to the wrongful conduct and harmed as a result. And the state did not provide that evidence."
The Minnesota Court of Appeals agreed with that argument in an opinion published in June, so the state attorney general's office petitioned the Minnesota Supreme Court, which took up the case.
The state argues that the district court trial showed there was broad misrepresentation in the program's marketing.
"Most of the people who participated in the criminal justice program wanted to be either a police officer or a probation officer, that's why you get a criminal justice degree," said Attorney General Lori Swanson. "So we believe the larger group of students who participated in that program and spent money trying to become police officers or probation officers, ought to be able to receive money from the school, so they can get on with their lives."
The Minnesota Supreme Court has no set timeline for making a determination in the case.