In a New York education law case, the state's supreme court has issued a clear message to students: It's up to you - not your school - to determine your employment prospects.
Our New York education law attorneys understand that the case is one of a growing trend of similar suits filed across the country. Basically, students at colleges across the country - including New York Law School in lower Manhattan - say the schools misled them about what kind of future they would have once they graduated.
The plaintiffs, nine students from the New York Law School, said the school took great efforts to misconstrue the truth about their job prospects. They equated it to false advertising when school officials, in promoting the large number of recent graduates who had secured employment, failed to stipulate that many of those graduates were working only part-time or in fields that didn't even require a law degree.
Students pay premium prices to attend a prestigious law school (or any law school, really) on the expectation that they will find employment when they graduate. The students were collectively seeking $225 million in damages.
The Supreme Court, however, tossed their claim - while still expressing sympathy for the students - saying that those who are contemplating law school are generally a "sophisticated subset" of education buyers, who are fully able to weigh all their options before deciding to enroll. So basically, it's up to the student to do his or her research prior to accepting an offer to attend.
Still, the courts did say that they realized the students were entering one of the worst job markets in history, particularly for those with a legal degree.
An attorney for the New York Law School graduates said there will likely be an appeal.
This was just one case, however - a class action lawsuit that involves students from the Syracuse University College of Law, as well as 34 other schools, is still pending.
To some extent, students may expect some form of inflation when it comes to data released by the schools. The fact is, statistics can be skewed just about any way you can imagine - and still technically be accurate.
Universities in New York are governed by the state's Office of Higher Education and the state's education law, which begin in Chapter 1, Title 8 and Section 47 of New York State statutes. However, the regulations that fall within this scope generally involve how to start a college, how to implement and register a new program, how schools should handle off-campus instructions and what happens when ownership of a university changes.
The issue of whether the university is misleading its students, i.e., consumers, may fall under the Federal Trade Commission Act, which essentially says that all advertisements have to be true and non-deceptive, there must be proof to back up the claim and they must be fair.
The Law Offices of Ira S. Newman provides education law counsel in New York City, Long Island, Great Neck and throughout the area. Call 516-487-7375 or contact us through the website.
Lawsuit to challenge SU graduation statistics, By Nicki Gorny, The Daily Orange