Ashworth College, formerly known as PCDI, is an online high school and college comprised of various courses that claimed to prepare students with the tools and skills needed to launch into a new career.
This past week the school came under fire for misrepresentation and fraudulent marketing practices.
Ironically, I worked for Ashworth College a few years ago and from the moment I began
sales training, I realized that the “product” I was selling was a dream.
I was recruited in as a Senior Admissions Advisor, which was nothing more than a glorified sales title. My recruiter assured me that the gig was a marketing based position and that I would be assisting potential students with enrollment and career counseling. At the time I was interested in doing some college recruiting so I was excited for the opportunity.
My first day on the job I was given a headset and a quota and expected to enroll X amount of student prospects on a daily, weekly and monthly basis –over the phone.
sales admissions department was every bit of a sales environment, lined with cubicles and head sets and “Admissions Advisors” were divided into teams and pitted against one another all in the name of selling that dream! Team managers never seemed interested in the student, only the sale. The sale was actually an enrollment fee, in which the students had to pay up front, out of pocket. The school accepted no other forms of payment other than COLD, HARD CASH!
I knew my first day in that I was in over my head and that the dream I was selling just didn’t feel right. As a mid level sales and marketing manager, I had marketed and sold enough to know that the feeling had to be right in order for me to be successful at “selling” what Ashworth was offering. I just didn’t believe in the “products”.
In the end, my career at Ashworth College was very short lived. I absolutely hated every single moment of my time working there. My first week I surpassed my
sales quota but I was mentally exhausted and stressed to the maximum. The next week I called up my recruiter and respectfully resigned.
Needless to say that it came as no surprise that this
company school had been sued for their shady business practices.
In my humble opinion, Ashworth is nothing more than a shakedown money pit disguising itself as a reputable educational institute.
Join the discussion.
Ashworth College promised to refrain from unfounded claims about its programs to settle federal charges the for-profit college misleads students about its career training programs and credit transfers, the Federal Trade Commission announced.
Under the terms of the agreement announced May 26, Ashworth, also known as the Professional Career Development Institute, from misrepresenting how well it prepares students for vocational licenses and whether its course credits are generally accepted at other schools.
A 23-page complaint filed the same day the settlement was announced, lays out Ashworth’s marketing strategy and the reality of its programs, which the FTC says contradicts the school’s promises that its graduates will qualify for jobs in their desired fields and that their credits can be transferred to other colleges.
“PCDI, through its advertising materials and its representatives, tells consumers that its courses of study will provide them with the comprehensive training and credentials they need to switch careers or obtain a new job, often presenting specific careers or jobs in various fields that its graduates could purportedly obtain,” the complaint says. “In numerous instances, however, such representations are false or misleading, or are not substantiates at the time they are made.”
According to the complaint, PCDI doesn’t accept student loans, and students are required to make full or monthly payments, which range from hundreds to thousands of dollars.
PCDI employs “Admissions Advisors” to read pre-written call scripts to potential students. They work on a partial commission and can be fired if they don’t meet enrollment quotas.
“Despite their titles, these Admissions Advisors are, in reality, professional salespeople who are trained to use high-pressure tactics to persuade consumers to enroll,” the complaint says. “In numerous instances, PCDI Admissions Advisors have reinforced over the telephone representations in PCDI’s advertising and marketing materials that PCDI’s programs provide consumers with the ‘credentials [to] apply for jobs’ and ‘the comprehensive preparation . . . to start a new career.'”
Read more here