FTC Refunds $830K 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 medical school standardized test and the percentage of students who matched with a residency program after graduation.

For example, a Saint James brochure touted a 96.77 percent pass rate and guaranteed that 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 didn’t admit to or deny any of the allegations, according to a court order. That money went toward refunding students and canceling certain debts “for students harmed by the deceptive marketing,” according to an FTC news release. The students receiving payments from the FTC attended Saint James from fall 2016 to summer 2021.

As part of the settlement, Saint James must notify students whose debts were canceled and is not allowed to misrepresent its pass or match rates or make any other unsubstantiated claims, according to the release.

Kaushik Guha, executive vice president of Human Resources Development Services, the medical school’s parent company, said in a statement released at the time of the settlement that the school would continue to provide “a high-quality medical education.”

“We have chosen to settle with the FTC over its allegations that 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 of providing a quality medical education at an affordable cost. However, we have added additional language and clarifications any time the USMLE pass rate and placement rates are mentioned. We are committed to being an industry leader for transparency and accountability and hope that our efforts will lead to lasting change throughout the for-profit education industry.”

Guha declined to comment further Thursday.

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