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College firm to repay MN nursing students thousands in unpaid exam fees

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An Indiana company has been ordered to pay back thousands of dollars to at least 800 Minnesota nursing students after tricking them into taking out loans to advance their careers.

The Forum News Service reports The College Network arranged financing of up to $4,000 for students to take proficiency exams, but failed to administer the money on time so they could pay the testing companies, causing delays and forcing some students to pay out of their own pocket.

According to MPR News, students were being charged 12 percent interest rates on their financing by The College Network, which also signed students up for study guides.

An order issued in Anoka County District Court has ordered the company to pay exam fees back to existing students, the news organization notes, and bars it from accepting exam fees from customers in Minnesota.

The Star Tribune notes the firm had marketed itself to licensed nurses by "offering financing and a quick path to becoming registered nurses."

For $4,000, students would be provided preparation materials so they could then enroll in an online school based in New York, through which they could take "equivalency exams" that would mean they would "test out" of many required courses.

"What they promised, they didn't deliver," Swanson said, according to MPR News. "It hampered their life because they weren't getting their fee money back then some couldn't take the tests, thereby it actually slowed them down."

"In other cases they had to go work overtime to get the money to pay the test because they thought they had the money secured with these loans," Swanson added.

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