Students file suit against Daymar

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Reporter - Lauren Adams
Photojournalist - Jeff Pierce

PADUCAH - Mark Bryant has been a lawyer for more than three decades.  But of a recent case he said, "We just didn't realize the magnitude of this one."

A class action lawsuit filed by Bryant in McCracken Circuit Court now bears the names of 15 former Daymar College students and it is getting bigger by the day.

He said they are students facing mountains of debt who have nothing to show for it.

"They can't repay the money because they can't find a job."

The complaint alleges students were "induced to attend by promises of full transferability of credit" and "career placement."

"Education is work. Students have to do work, too," Daymar Colleges Group President Mark Gabis told us during a brief phone interview Monday.

He denied the allegations, saying the school has been around 15 years and would never make promises of jobs.

"We just don't talk that way because we know that could be misleading. We just don't do it."

Associate of Science degrees are offered in several fields, including students studying to become paralegals or pharmacy techs. Some degrees and credits will transfer to places like Murray State, but Gabis said it is and always has been the responibiltity of the students to know that beforehand.

Gabis declined to talk specifics but the lawsuit also claims unqualified faculty supplied students test answers to guarantee passing grades.

"It's simple. If you don't make the grade, they can't get federal funds, so they want you to succeed," Bryant explained.

What's worse, Bryant said students spending thousands of dollars on education had to go elsewhere.

"I had several students tell me they would go to Kroeger and buy pigs feet because there was nothing to dissect."

The students named in the lawsuit attended from 2006-2009.  Most are back where they started, working at places like The Dollar Tree and Comfort Inn, but are now in substantial debt.

"They couldn't repay those debts in a lifetime and it's really sad to see," Bryant said, explaining his desire to help the students.

Bryant said he traveled to the Piketon, Ohio, campus last week to speak with students there. He said based on conversations he had, hundreds more students are in the same predicament and the lawsuit could grow.

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