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Boston, MA — The Division of Professional Licensure (DPL) announced that it recently entered into a consent agreement with the Portfolio Center of Atlanta, GA, formerly of Waltham, MA, fining the school $10,000 and resolving allegations that school failed to maintain minimum standards relating to its business and ethics practices.
“Occupational schools play an important role in training the Commonwealth’s workforce, however, it is critical that they follow the rules, particularly those that directly affect students enrolled in their programs,” said Undersecretary John Chapman.
“As the oversight body for these schools, we will take action where warranted,” said DPL Director Charles Borstel. “Our priority is to ensure that schools are being properly run and that students are receiving what they pay for.”
The school admitted to violating the agency statues and regulations relating to the operation of private occupational schools. Violations include failure to notify DPL of a change in its location, failure to obtain building and fire inspections, and failure to maintain a list of all educational materials and equipment used for instructional purposes. In addition the Portfolio Center failed to submit to DPL required program information, including information on changes to courses offered to its students; failed to maintain and provide students with copies of complete student enrollment contracts; and employed instructors without obtaining prior DPL approval.
In the consent agreement, Portfolio Center admitted that it failed to establish and maintain minimum standards related to its ethics and business practices, and agreed to pay a $10,000 fine in resolution of those allegations.
The Portfolio Center offers certificate and educational programs in advertising, art, communications, film, photography, and website design. The school, headquartered in Atlanta, previously operated a location in Waltham, MA, which closed in December 2014.
DPL’s Office of Private Occupational School Education oversees private occupational schools that offer courses, for profit or by charging tuition, for the purpose of training or preparing individuals for a business, trade, technical or industrial occupation, or any other vocational purpose. Currently, there are 165 occupational schools licensed to operate at approximately 226 locations in Massachusetts. For more information on the Office or to file a complaint against a private occupational school, visit www.mass.gov/dpl/schools.
DPL is a regulatory agency within the Office of Consumer Affairs and Business Regulation, responsible for ensuring regulatory compliance and the integrity of the licensing process for more than 370,000 licensees in trades and professions under the jurisdiction of 30 boards of registration. Consumers are urged to visit DPL's website at www.mass.gov/dpl and select the “Check a Professional's License” link to determine whether a professional with whom they may do business is licensed and in good standing. Follow DPL on Twitter @Mass Consumer.