NEW YORK, NY  – Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman has announced a settlement with Tennessee-based Southeast Financial Credit Union. The settlement with Southeast Financial  provides $2.25 million in refunds for duped New Yorkers and requires the credit union to clean up any students’ negatively-affected credit ratings.
The suit charges The College Network with inducing prospective nursing students to pay thousands of dollars for ineffective study guides through false and deceptive business practices – including preying on as many as 2,000 New York consumers who sought to obtain associate degrees in nursing. Using misleading advertising and high pressure sales tactics, The College Network also created the false impression that it was offering online nursing degrees and that it was affiliated with Excelsior College, an accredited institution based in Albany that offers such degrees.

The lawsuit also charges that, through an agreement with The College Network, Southeast Financial Credit Union provided financing to many of The College Network’s customers. As required by federal law, Southeast Financial Credit Union’s loan agreements provided that the credit union, as the holder of consumer credit contracts, is subject to all claims and defenses that consumers may have against The College Network.

“Students across the country are already struggling under mountains of debt and fees – they shouldn’t have the added worry of being ripped off by deceptive scammers hawking ineffective study guides,” said Attorney General Schneiderman. “My office will continue to aggressively pursue those who mislead and exploit New Yorkers who are simply seeking an education to better their lives and communities.”

In addition to paying $2.25 million, which will be distributed to eligible consumers who financed their purchase from The College Network through the credit union, the settlement requires Southeast Financial Credit Union to clean up the credit of any New York consumers who received negative marks on their credit report from the credit union.


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