Trump University: A Look at an Enduring Education Scandal

In Conflict of Interest, Education On
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When Donald Trump first launched Trump University in 2005, he said that the program’s aim was altruistic. Coming off his success as a reality television show host, Trump claimed that the Trump University program was devoted to helping people gain real estate skills and knowledge. At the Trump University launch event, Trump told reporters that he hoped to create a “legacy as an educator” by “imparting lots of knowledge” through his program.1

Today, it’s clear that Trump University was far from charitable. In fact, Trump University’s real estate seminars often didn’t provide that much education; at some seminars, it seemed like the instructors aimed to do little more than bilk money from people who dreamed of successful real estate careers. As one person who attended the program wrote on a feedback form examined by the authors, “Requesting we raise our credit limits on our credit cards at lunch Friday seemed a little transparent.”2

Lawyers eventually filed three separate lawsuits from 2010 to 2013 against Trump University for, among other claims, “deceptive practices.”3 Donald Trump has agreed to pay a $25 million settlement to the people who attended Trump University in 2007, 2008, 2009, or 2010.4

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