DCWP settles with ASA College for deceptive advertising targeting immigrants
ASA ran hundreds of advertisements on subway and social media that guaranteed visas, "gifts"
The Department of Consumer and Worker Protection entered a settlement with ASA College, one of New York’s largest for-profit educational institutions, for deceptive advertising practices that violated the city’s Consumer Protection Law.
“Immigrants come from all over the world to NYC in search of a better life and we will not allow them to be the target of predatory and deceptive schemes in their pursuit,” said DCWP Commissioner Vilda Vera Mayuga.
“All business must comply with our city’s laws, and DCWP stands ready to hold businesses accountable for preying on New Yorkers, especially our most vulnerable neighbors.”
From January to August of this year, ASA ran hundreds of advertisements on the subway and displayed on social media that specifically targeted immigrants and low-income New Yorkers who need assistance to acquire a higher education. ASA has agreed to pay $112,500 in penalties because of the settlement and has also agreed to comply with existing advertising law.
“ASA illegally preyed on vulnerable immigrants, searching for a better life here in New York City,” said Immigration Committee Chair, Councilmember Shahana Hanif.
The advertisements promoted visas that would give students attending ASA legal immigration status, along with bogus academic programs that allow graduation in 16 months, when that is not possible.
Also advertised was a $4,000–$8,000 gift upon graduation from ASA College that was a scholarship with conditions and limitations.
“The settlement with DCWP is a victory for immigrants in our city and the many more who one day hope to call this place home,” said Hanif in a statement.
“Make no mistake, any business in our city must follow our laws and if they refuse, our city will ensure justice is served.”
Higher education is a fundamental human right, and educational institutions should not use their platform to position students to fail or rely on false promises,” said Chair of the Committee on Consumer and Worker Protection, Council Member Marjorie Velázquez.
“We are a city built on immigrants, many being young adults and students eager to get ahead and establish a legacy they can be proud of for years to come. ASA College must be held accountable for its false promises to prevent this from happening in the future and should be a lesson to all educational institutions. These deceptive marketing tactics impact immigrant communities and low-income students, as well as their families who have relied on these gifts or unrealistic timelines.”
The settlement was handled by Daniel DuBois, under the supervision of Matthew Bondy of the General Counsel Division, which is led by DCWP’s General Counsel Michael Tiger and Deputy General Counsel Melissa Iachan.
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