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Student Defense and Relman Colfax File Class Action Civil Rights, Consumer Fraud Lawsuit Against Walden University on Behalf of Former Students

January 10, 2022

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Student Defense and Relman Colfax File Class Action Civil Rights, Consumer Fraud Lawsuit Against Walden University on Behalf of Former Students
Walden targeted Black and female students with false advertisements, required students to complete and pay for substantial additional credit hours, complaint says

Student Defense and Relman Colfax PLLC filed a class action lawsuit in federal court today alleging that Walden University engaged in fraudulent business practices, costing former students more than $28 million in overpaid tuition. The lawsuit, filed in the United States District Court for the District of Maryland, describes the school’s scheme to lure Black and female students into their Doctor of Business Administration (DBA) program with false program requirements, then compel students to complete more credit hours than originally advertised.

“I feel like Walden intentionally misled me for their own gain, and I want them to be held accountable,” said Aljanal Carroll, a lawsuit plaintiff. “They promised me their program would change my life, and it did, but not for the better. I hope this lawsuit helps ensure Walden can’t take advantage of other students in the future like they did with me.”

The plaintiffs are seeking a judgment against Walden that affirms the school violated consumer protection and Civil Rights laws such as Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Equal Credit Opportunity Act, as well as damages and financial relief to compensate for tuition payments.

“Walden targeted Black and female students with the promise of an affordable doctoral program. It broke that promise by dragging out their dissertation process, at significant cost to students who had no choice but to keep spending money if they wanted the degree they had worked so hard for,” said Student Defense President Aaron Ament. “We’re committed to ensuring Walden pays for their wrongdoings and is prevented from causing similar harm to other students in the future.”

“Walden presents itself as committed to social change—but this is merely a façade,” said Relman Colfax attorney Alexa Milton. “Far from creating educational and career opportunities for Black and female students, who are underrepresented in graduate business programs, Walden traps them in a fraudulent and predatory scheme and, for many, significant student debt.”

As the complaint explains, Walden enticed students by promoting false and misleading course requirements, then required them to complete substantial additional coursework — dozens of credit hours in some cases — beyond what was originally advertised to students. The school reaped the financial gain from this scheme, stringing along students who were already deeply invested in their degree plan knowing they’d likely take the additional courses in hopes of finishing.

Walden targeted and disproportionately hurt Black and female students with their malicious practices. In 2016, 41% of students across Walden’s doctoral programs identified as Black — more than seven times the national average of Black students enrolled in doctoral coursework. Nearly 77% identified as female.

A full copy of the initial complaint can be found on the Student Defense website.


If you are a Walden student or are interested in more information about this lawsuit, please contact us here and let us know about your experience.