May 19, 2023
Ahead of Graduation, Pressley, Warren Urge Failed Bay State College to Do Everything Possible to Help Students and Student Loan Borrowers
“Students of Bay State College…are in vulnerable positions because of fraudulent behavior and mismanagement.”
“Bay State must take immediate action to ensure that current and former students’ rights and interests are protected and communicated.”
WASHINGTON – Ahead of the graduation ceremony for Bay State College’s final graduating class, Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley (MA-07) and Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) sent a letter to Kevin Derrivan, Interim President of Bay State College, and Dr. Jin Huang, CEO of Ambow Education, expressing concern over the imminent closure of the college and laying out several steps the school must take to protect students.
“Students of Bay State College trusted the institution to provide a high-quality education, and now they are in vulnerable positions because of fraudulent behavior and mismanagement beyond their control. Bay State must take immediate action to ensure that current and former students’ rights and interests are protected and communicated,” the lawmakers wrote.
On January 16, 2023, the New England Commission of Higher Education (NECHE) announced that it will withdraw Bay State College’s accreditation on August 31, 2023, amid allegations of fraud and clear evidence that the college could not continue operating because of its significant financial losses and severely reduced enrollment.
Bay State has a troubling history of noncompliance with state and federal laws that led to investigations in 2016 and 2017 by the Massachusetts Attorney General’s Office following allegations that the college failed to comply with for-profit school regulations. This investigation found Bay State engaged in illegal telemarketing practices, provided prospective students with inaccurate job placement figures, and failed to provide students disclosures as required by state regulations, which resulted in the institution being ordered to pay $1.1 million in relief to hundreds of students to resolve these allegations. More recent allegations suggest that Bay State may have continued to defraud students by overcharging them thousands of dollars for classes and misleading them about the transferability of classes. Further, Bay State College’s financial problems and lack of leadership may have affected the quality of the education the college provided to its students.
In the letter, the lawmakers urge the President of Bay State College and CEO of Ambow Education to take the following actions to help students: identify programs in place to protect borrowers such as Borrower Defense, ensure smooth transfer of academic credits, assume personal liability, and provide detailed information regarding students’ financial aid status and other potential refunds they may be entitled to as a result of accreditation loss and subsequent closure.
In January 2023, Representative Pressley and Senator Warren sent a letter to NECHE calling on the accreditor to carefully scrutinize Bay State College’s accreditation ahead of a meeting on the college’s accreditation status. A month later, the lawmakers sent a letter urging the Department of Education to protect students and alumni defrauded by Bay State College.
A copy of the letter can be found here.