FTC refunds $830,000 to former Saint James Med School students
More than 1,300 former Saint James School of Medicine students are receiving more than $830,000 in payments as part of a settlement reached between the for-profit institution and the Federal Trade Commission.
The FTC alleged earlier this year that Saint James, which operates campuses in the Caribbean, “lured students with false guarantees of student success” since at least April 2018, providing inaccurate information about its pass rates. on a standardized medical school test and the percentage of students matched to a residency program after graduation.
For example, a Saint James brochure advertised a 96.77 percent pass rate and guaranteed students would pass the United States Medical Licensing Examination, Step 1. The institution’s actual pass rate was 35 percent, the FTC said in a complaint.
Saint James paid $1.2 million to settle the complaint but did not admit or deny any of the allegations, according to a court order. That money went toward refunding students and canceling some debt “for students harmed by deceptive marketing,” according to an FTC news release. Students receiving payments from the FTC attended Saint James from fall 2016 through summer 2021.
As part of the settlement, Saint James must notify students whose debts have been canceled and is not permitted to misrepresent transfer or matching fees or make other unsubstantiated claims, according to the notice.
Kaushik Guha, executive vice president of Human Resource Development Services, the medical school’s parent company, said in a statement released at the time of the settlement that the school will continue to provide “a high-quality medical education.”
“We have chosen to agree with the FTC regarding its allegations that the disclosures on our website and in Delta’s loan agreements were insufficient,” Guha said in the statement. “While we strongly disagree with the FTC’s approach to this matter, we did not want a lengthy legal process to distract from our mission to provide quality medical education at an affordable cost. However, we have added additional language and clarification whenever the USMLE pass rate and placement levels are mentioned. We are committed to being an industry leader in transparency and accountability, and we hope our efforts will lead to lasting change throughout the for-profit education industry.”
Guha declined to comment further on Thursday.