Westwood College

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Westwood College
Westwood College.jpg
Type Private, for-profit
Active 1953–2016
Location Southern California, Denver, Atlanta, Chicago, Westwood College Online, California, Colorado, Georgia, Illinois, and Virginia, United States
Website Westwood College

Westwood College, owned by Alta Colleges Inc., was an American for-profit institution of higher learning with 15 campus locations in five states and online learning options. Westwood was nationally accredited by the Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools (ACICS).[1] Since its inception in 1986, Westwood graduated more than 37,000 students.[2][3] The college closed in March 2016.[4]


Westwood College was founded in Denver, Colorado, in 1953. For many years, the school was known as Denver Institute of Technology, offering diploma and degree programs in a variety of technical fields. As the school expanded into other industries, the name was changed to Westwood College.

Westwood College became part of Alta Colleges Inc. (Alta), a system of for-profit higher education institutions that also included Westwood College Online and Redstone College (formerly known as Colorado Aero Tech in Denver). Prior to ceasing operations, there were 15 Westwood College campuses located in five states.

In May 2009, Westwood settled a federal lawsuit over misrepresentation of its graduation statistics for $7 million, without admitting wrongdoing.[5]

Westwood faced a class action arbitration in 2009, challenging its admissions and financial aid practices. The suit against Westwood was dismissed after the court found that it did not warrant class action status. The court ruled that the student who led the class-action suit derived "most if not all, of his knowledge of the case from his attorneys" and appeared to be little more than a bystander to the suit.[6][7]

The Colorado Attorney General's office reached a settlement with the college in 2012, following a two-year investigation, in which the college did not admit any liability but agreed to pay $2 million in penalties, restitution, and attorneys fees and costs to the state. Westwood was also required to credit another $2.5 million in restitution directly to students who financed their tuition with the school’s institutional financing program.[8]

In 2011, the Veterans Administration disqualified three Westwood College Campuses from the GI Bill Program. The VA took this step after finding, "erroneous, deceptive, and misleading advertising and enrollment practices at these institutions."[9] In late 2011, Westwood stopped enrolling students in their Texas campuses.

On January 18, 2012, Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan filed a lawsuit citing misleading job opportunities for Westwood's criminal justice program.[10] Westwood settled the suit in 2015 after failing to gain dismissal of the case. Westwood agreed to pay $15 million toward the loans of their criminal justice students.[11] Shortly thereafter the college ceased admitting new students[12] and announced that it would close in March 2016.[4] Westwood has acknowledged that in most cases its credits will not transfer to other colleges or universities.[13]


Westwood College Online offered 25 degree programs. Coursework was completed entirely over the Internet via audio/visual technology designed to mimic an actual classroom. The virtual classrooms were supplemented with real textbooks.

Westwood College established partnerships with several public school districts to provide technology, support and money.[14] The partnerships include Atlanta Public Schools,[15] "A Better Chicago"[16] and the Crushers Club in Chicago,[17] and the KidsTek[18] program at Denver Public Schools.[19]


Westwood College operated on a term schedule. Degree programs started five times a year, and courses were offered year-round during the day, evening, and online. Depending on the degree program in which they were enrolled, students could earn an associate degree in as little as 20 months or a bachelor’s degree in three years.

Westwood College's degree programs are organized under six schools: School of Business, School of Design, School of Justice, School of Technology, School of Healthcare and Automotive Technology. Each campus had a different program focus and some programs are not available at certain locations, depending on the regional economic variables and demand.

Students who graduated from Westwood could return for tuition-free retraining, which allowed them to evaluate and review courses that were within their degree program. Westwood alumni could audit a class they took during their tenure, take an updated course after graduation and continue to learn about new equipment and software.

New students were allowed to take classes for 30 days with no financial obligations. The school also offered an "Employment Pledge"[20] to help eligible graduates financially if they were unable to find employment after graduation.[21]


Westwood College's campus locations were nationally accredited by the Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools (ACICS).[22][23][24][25][26] Each campus was also approved to operate by the appropriate state regulatory bodies.[27] [28][29]

Westwood College Online was accredited with the Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools (ACICS).[30]


Westwood College Denver North Campus

In addition to its Westwood College Online program, Westwood College had locations in:

Admissions and financial aid[edit]

Prior to December 2015, Westwood had an open admissions policy.[45] Applicants were eligible for both Pell grants and federal student loans. In an August 4, 2010 report from the Government Accountability Office, Westwood College was named as one of 15 institutions that "encouraged fraudulent practices" when meeting with undercover investigators posing as applicants. Fraudulent practices cited in this report included encouraging applicants to overstate financial need and hide assets.[46] During a congressional hearing to present the report, testimony by a former Westwood admissions representative was disproven by tapes of conversations, and it was reported that this representative's comments were edited by attorneys who were suing Westwood,[47] and inappropriately coached by Sen. Harkin staffers who organized the hearing.[48]

On November 12, 2015, Westwood suspended all enrollment citing poor enrollment and new government regulations.[49] On January 25, 2016, the school sent an email to current and former students advising them that Westwood College would be closing its doors in March after the conclusion of the January 2016 term. The email also informed students of their options for transferring credits to partner schools as well as student loan information.[50] On March 29, 2016, Westwood officially acknowledged the closing of all 15 campuses, effective on March 8, 2016.[51]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "ACICS Member directory". Personify.acics.org. Retrieved 2015-07-10. 
  2. ^ "Westwood Graduate Stories". Westwoodcollegesuccess.com. Retrieved 2015-07-10. 
  3. ^ "Westwood College; About us". Westwood.edu. Retrieved 2015-07-10. 
  4. ^ a b "Westwood College Announces It Will Close In March". CBS4. January 27, 2016. Retrieved February 11, 2016. 
  5. ^ Mytelka, Andrew (20 April 2009). "Proprietary College to Pay $7-Million to Settle Federal Student-Aid Charges". Chronicle of Higher Education. Retrieved 5 May 2015. 
  6. ^ "Corporate Counsel". law.com. 
  7. ^ "Texas Judge Denies Class-Action Suit Against Westwood College Online Classes In Texas « CBS Dallas / Fort Worth". cbslocal.com. 
  8. ^ "Colorado settles case with Westwood College". The Muscatine Journal. 2012. Retrieved 2012-03-14. 
  9. ^ "Durbin: VA Disqualifies Three Westwood College Campuses from GI Bill Program". Dick Durbin site. United States Senate. Retrieved October 31, 2011. 
  10. ^ "Topic Galleries". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 2015-07-10. 
  11. ^ "WESTWOOD COLLEGE TO FORGIVE $15M IN LOANS TO CRIMINAL JUSTICE STUDENTS". ABC 7. 2015-11-04. Retrieved 2015-11-14. 
  12. ^ Ashley A. Smith (December 8, 2015). "Fall of a For-Profit". Inside Higher Ed. Retrieved December 8, 2015. 
  13. ^ "How Does Transferring College Credits Work? - Westwood College". Westwood.edu. Retrieved 2015-07-10. 
  14. ^ "Westwood Partnerships". Westwood College. Retrieved 2015-07-10. 
  15. ^ "Westwood College Provides Donations and Sponsorships at Area High Schools to Help Students Succeed". BusinessWires. Retrieved 2015-07-10. 
  16. ^ "Westwood College Partners with a Better Chicago and Crushers Club to Raise Money for Youth Programs". BusinessWires. Retrieved 2015-07-10. 
  17. ^ "Restore the Path. Rebuild the streets". crushersclub.org. Retrieved 2015-07-10. 
  18. ^ "KidsTek - Reach Higher Through Technology Education". kidstek.org. Retrieved 2015-07-10. 
  19. ^ "Westwood College Provides Donations and Sponsorships at Area High Schools to Help Students Succeed". BusinessWires. Retrieved 2015-07-10. 
  20. ^ "Our Employment Pledge". Westwood College. Retrieved 16 July 2015. 
  21. ^ Steffen, Jordan (14 March 2012). "Colorado Attorney General reaches settlement with Westwood, $2.5 million to be returned to students". Denver Post. Retrieved 16 July 2015. 
  22. ^ "ACICS - Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools". October 12, 2010. Retrieved 2010-10-12. 
  23. ^ Jaschik, Scott (October 19, 2005). "Demanding Credit". Inside Higher Ed. Retrieved 2008-12-12. 
  24. ^ Lederman, Doug (February 26, 2007). "Tussling Over Transfer of Credit". Inside Higher ED. Retrieved 2008-12-12. 
  25. ^ "What is the difference between regional and national accreditation?". Yahoo! Help. n.d. Retrieved 2008-10-12. 
  26. ^ "Types of Accreditation". WorldWideLearn. n.d. Retrieved 2010-10-13. 
  27. ^ Robles, Yesenia (2011-03-05). "Colorado takes Westwood College off probation, grants full accreditation". Denver Post. 
  28. ^ "Wisconsin Directory of Private Postsecondary Schools" (PDF). Eab.state.wi.us. Retrieved 2015-07-10. 
  29. ^ "Westwood College Accreditation". Westwood College. n.d. Retrieved 2010-11-13. 
  30. ^ "ACICS Directory of Accredited Institutions" (PDF). June 1, 2010. Retrieved 2010-06-15. 
  31. ^ "Westwood College - Anaheim Campus". Westwood College. n.d. Retrieved 2008-01-14. 
  32. ^ "Westwood College - Inland Empire Campus info". Westwood College. n.d. Retrieved 2008-01-14. 
  33. ^ "Westwood College - Los Angeles Campus". Westwood College. n.d. Retrieved 2008-01-14. 
  34. ^ "Westwood College - South Bay Campus". Westwood College. n.d. Retrieved 2008-01-14. 
  35. ^ "Westwood College in Colorado - Denver North". Westwood College. n.d. Retrieved 2008-01-14. 
  36. ^ "Westwood College in Colorado - Denver South". Westwood College. n.d. Retrieved 2008-01-14. 
  37. ^ "Westwood College in Georgia - Midtown Campus". Westwood College. n.d. Retrieved 2008-01-14. 
  38. ^ "Westwood College in Georgia - Northlake Campus". Westwood College. n.d. Retrieved 2008-01-14. 
  39. ^ "Westwood College in Chicago - Loop Campus". Westwood College. n.d. Retrieved 2008-01-14. 
  40. ^ "Westwood College in Chicago - DuPage Campus". Westwood College. n.d. Retrieved 2008-01-14. 
  41. ^ "Westwood College in Chicago - O'Hare Airport Campus". Westwood College. n.d. Archived from the original on 2007-12-29. Retrieved 2008-01-14. 
  42. ^ "Westwood College in Chicago - River Oaks Campus". Westwood College. n.d. Retrieved 2008-01-14. 
  43. ^ "Westwood College in Virginia - Annandale Campus". Westwood College. n.d. Retrieved 2008-01-14. 
  44. ^ "Westwood College in Virginia - Arlington Campus". Westwood College. n.d. Retrieved 2008-01-14. 
  45. ^ National Center for Education Statistics (2008). "College Navigator - Westwood College". Retrieved 2010-08-05. 
  46. ^ Vise, Daniel de; Paul Kane (2010-08-05). "GAO: 15 for-profit colleges used deceptive recruiting tactics". The Washington Post. ISSN 0740-5421. Retrieved 2010-08-05. 
  47. ^ Jonathan, Strong (2011-08-04). "Star Harkin witness's testimony under fire". The Daily Caller. Retrieved 2011-08-04. 
  48. ^ Strong, Jonathan (2013-07-21). "Dem. Senator Accused of Witness Tampering". Fox News. Retrieved 2013-07-21. 
  49. ^ Clay, Joanna (2015-11-12). "Westwood College stops enrollment, Anaheim students left confused". The Orange County Register. 
  50. ^ Pagano, Lou (2016-01-25). ""Important Announcement" email from Chief Operating Officer Lou Pagano". 
  51. ^ Gray, Albert (2016-03-29). "Westwood Acknowledgement of Campus Closures" (PDF). Westwood College. Retrieved 2016-07-01. 

External links[edit]