For Immediate Release - February 24, 2016

AG Healey Sues Unlicensed For-Profit School for Deceiving Students Seeking Nursing Careers

AG Healey Alleges Hosanna College of Health Targeted Haitian Community and Charged Thousands of Dollars For Programs that Failed to Lead to Nursing Jobs

BOSTON – Attorney General Maura Healey has sued a for-profit school operating in the Boston area over allegations that it operated without a license and misrepresented its training programs, leaving dozens of students in Massachusetts without promised careers in nursing.  

The complaint, filed today in Suffolk Superior Court, alleges that since 2013, Hosanna College of Health and its two founding executives, Jackson Augustin and Michelle Desarmes, actively recruited students from the Boston area’s Haitian community to take nursing classes in Massachusetts. They also falsely promised that the education would allow them to easily pass the mandatory national board exam in nursing, become licensed nurses in Massachusetts, and obtain full-time, well-paid nursing jobs. 

“These students invested their hopes and dreams in this program, but instead paid thousands of dollars for an ineffective, low-quality education that failed to provide a path to a nursing career,” AG Healey said. “We allege that this school aggressively recruited and misled students from the Haitian community in order to generate a profit. Our office will continue to investigate and act against predatory schools that take advantage of students in Massachusetts.”

Hosanna is not licensed to offer classes or grant degrees in Massachusetts. According to the complaint, classes were held in temporary spaces in Brockton and Randolph, and were taught by Hosanna employees, including Augustin and Desarmes, who flew into Massachusetts periodically to recruit students and to oversee classes. The school’s headquarters currently operates out of a rented building in South Florida.

Students, some of whom paid more than $10,000 for their education, were also promised a hands-on clinical component to their studies. Rather than seek state approval and locate clinical opportunities in Massachusetts, the AG’s Office alleges that Hosanna required students to pay additional money to travel to Florida multiple times during the nursing program for clinical training. Its clinical courses were of inferior quality, some as simple as requiring that students watch a video on labor and childbirth. 

Despite the school’s claims about the value of its education, the complaint alleges that, as of October 2015, less than 3 percent of Hosanna graduates had passed the national board exam in nursing. A passing grade is required in order for students to obtain a nursing license in Massachusetts. Students also reported that classes were often canceled and that they often did not receive test grades, which left them with no sense of their academic progress.

The AG’s Office is seeking restitution for students, including the return of tuition and fees, plus any money students paid to cover travel expenses to Florida for clinical training. The AG’s Office is also seeking civil penalties and injunctive relief for the school’s unfair and deceptive conduct. 

The case against Hosanna is the most recent in a series of actions that Attorney General Healey has taken against predatory for-profit schools. The AG’s Office is currently in litigation with for-profit schools Corinthian Colleges and American Career Institute for alleged unfair and deceptive practices. The AG’s Office reached settlements worth more than $6 million with four additional for-profit schools in Massachusetts – Kaplan Career Institute, Lincoln Tech, Sullivan & Cogliano and Salter College. In November, AG Healey announced action against student debt relief companies and the launch of a Student Loan Assistance Unit to assist borrowers who are having trouble paying their student loans.

Students looking for more information or assistance should visit the AG’s Student Lending Assistance page or call the Student Loan Assistance Unit Hotline at 1-888-830-6277.

Today’s matter is being handled by Assistant Attorneys General Tiffany Bartz and Claire Masinton, along with Legal Analyst David Lim and Paralegal Katherine Hurley, all of the Attorney General’s Insurance & Financial Services Division, with assistance from Investigator Anthony Crespi of the Civil Investigations Division.