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Attorney General Lisa Madigan sues Westwood College over its accreditation

Updated: February 21, 2012 8:30AM

Several Chicago area graduates of Westwood College’s criminal justice program claim they were misled about the school’s accreditation.

Their complaints led to a lawsuit filed Wednesday against the for-profit college by Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan. It alleges deceptive practices.

Westwood is owned by Alta College in Denver. Westwood’s nationwide campuses include four in Illinois.

The school is nationally accredited but is not accredited regionally, which is required by many police departments for employment.

Twenty-nine-year-old Jessica Pierce dreamed of being a Chicago police officer and graduated in 2007.

But the department wouldn’t accept her Westwood degree. She claims that Westwood officials were dishonest and now she’s racked up $52,000 in debt.

A Westwood spokeswoman says the college does disclose its accreditation.

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