Federal Judge Approves $25M Settlement for Trump University Victims

By George Khoury, Esq. on March 31, 2017 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

A federal court judge has approved the $25 million class action settlement against Trump University. The case stemmed from allegations of fraud and misrepresentation, in essence claiming that Trump University provided no value to students, and worse, simply took advantage of students. The settlement actually resolves three separate cases against Trump University that all stem from similar allegations.

Although neither President Donald Trump, nor the Trump University, will be required to admit fault, a $25 million settlement says quite a bit about who was in the wrong, particularly given that the facts were heavily one sided against Trump University. The settlement was approved by the same Indiana-born judge whom President Trump accused of being biased against him for wanting to build the border wall due to the judge's heritage.

Specifics of the Allegations

The lawsuits alleged that students were deceived in multiple ways, and left in a worse off financial situation than when they began. Students paid high tuition costs, ranging between $1,500 to $35,000. They expected to receive credentialed instruction and were promised to be taught "secrets." However, the secrets were no secret at all. Plaintiffs alleged that most of the information taught in the courses was available free online.

Furthermore, Trump University was never properly established or legally credentialed as a university, and when students were promised that the Don would should up, apparently he didn't. At some point, Trump University had to stop using the word "university" as part of its name. Additionally, even though instructors were supposed to be "hand-picked" by Trump, according to students, the teachers were lack luster, and, in some states, taught illegal investing techniques.

Settling a Battle

While it may have come as a shock that President Donald Trump was willing to settle the lawsuits against Trump University, particularly given his hard-line stance, it is no shock at all that the settlement was approved. The student-victims are expected to receive a refund of about 90% of what they paid in tuition to Trump University, which in the context of a class action settlement, is actually a rather good settlement. Frequently, when institutions and entities settle these types of class claims with thousands of class members, the individual victims do not receive much in the way of legal or monetary relief.

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