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Globe University closing four Twin Cities area campuses

Globe University's Woodbury campus.

ST. PAUL — Globe University and the Minnesota School of Business are closing campuses and laying off employees in the wake of a fraud lawsuit brought by Minnesota Attorney General Lori Swanson.

The for-profit college chain will close schools in Lakeville, Brooklyn Center, Elk River and Plymouth, school leaders said in a statement. It will also consolidate four Wisconsin schools into two campuses.

An undisclosed number of students attending the affected schools will be moved to other campuses or complete their degrees online beginning June 30, the statement said. About 45 employees, including some at the Woodbury corporate office, will lose their jobs.

Globe will still have campuses in Woodbury and Minneapolis. Minnesota School of Business will continue to operate in Blaine, Richfield, Rochester and St. Cloud.

Jeanne Herrmann, the chain’s chief operating officer, said the closures and job losses were directly linked to the lawsuit brought by Swanson’s office and what Herrmann called a “three-year negative publicity campaign.”

“The attorney general’s campaign has not only impacted our enrollment, but has also called into question the validity of the degrees of tens of thousands of our graduates who worked hard to accomplish their dream of a higher education, thereby only injuring students and alumni, the very groups she groups she claims to represent,” Herrmann said in a statement.

Swanson’s 2014 lawsuit alleges the two schools intentionally misled students about the value of the schools’ degrees and inflated graduates’ success in the job market. School leaders denied those allegations during a trial that lasted much of April; a judge’s decision is pending.

Swanson has aggressively increased her office’s oversight of the for-profit college industry and says more legal actions are likely.

Swanson joined attorneys general from a dozen states asking the federal government to revoke the oversight powers of the Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools, or ACICS, which accredits Globe, the Minnesota School of Business and other for-profit colleges and universities across the nation.

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