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Le Cordon Bleu have agreed to pay back over 2000 students a percentage of their tuition fees after a ten-year legal battle between the ex-students and the Le Cordon Bleu culinary school in Portland, Oregon.
Attorney David F.Sugerman, who was represented the students, wrote online: “It only took 10 years. Late yesterday, we agreed to settle our consumer fraud class action against Western Culinary Institute, Le Cordon Bleu-Portland, and Career Education Corp." The case was started by the students after they claimed they were not provided the high quality materials to work with that the school advertised and that graduates were only qualified to work in low level, entry positions when they started work - there is also the allegation that many students were encouraged to take out loans by the schools because of a deal between Career Education Corp and the Sallie Mae loan company.
Sugerman went on to list the clauses of the settlement which will see students receive a refund for 44 percent of the money they spent on tuitions, books and fees.
The settlement will also wipe $1 million in debt owed by students to the school. Though Sugerman said they have agreed to settle, he pointed out that it's "not a done deal" as courts are yet to approve the settlement.
With 2,200 students taking part in the class action lawsuit, the potential payout could be massive. The attorney explains how the payback would work, "If you paid $40,000 toward an associates degree, many paid more, and you don’t owe money back to the school, your 44 percent refund would pay back $17,600."
The announcement comes after a massive lawsuit in 2013 that saw Le Cordon Bleu get hit with a $40 million settlement fee after a court found they misrepresented the opportunities available for to graduates in the industry. This was followed by news in 2015 that the company would be closing all their schools in the U.S.