February 28, 2013|By Ellen Jean Hirst | Tribune reporter
Eleven students who will graduate in May 2013 from Concordia University Chicago’s school counseling master’s program filed a lawsuit against the university in Cook County Circuit Court on Wednesday for what they say is consumer fraud.
The individuals claim that the university had promised them upon admission that they would graduate from a school accredited by the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Education Programs – an important distinction, they said.
But in an e-mail correspondence between the students and the private Lutheran liberal arts university located in River Forest, the lawsuit states that the university told the students it had decided to no longer be accredited by the organization.
The students are asking that the university be required to reimburse their tuition costs as well as damages for the devalued degree.
In the lawsuit, the students claim that while their master’s degree incurred an above-average cost – they said they spent more than $20,000 each –the “coveted prize” of the valuable accreditation the university boasted would have made the price worth it.
Through recruiters, online and packet information, the students said they had been assured that they would graduate from an accredited university, an important step for someone hoping to become a licensed professional counselor, they said.
The accrediting organization states on its website: “Not (attending an accredited institution) can have significant and unfortunate implications for your future ability to obtain licensure as a professional counselor or your ability to continue on for further graduate-level education.”
Calls and emails to the university were not returned Wednesday night.