Temple University settled a class action lawsuit by Fox School of Business students in excess of $5 million Friday, after the school admitted it had misreported rankings data to U.S. News & World Report.
Online MBA students involved with the class action lawsuit will receive $4 million and claims from students in the Executive MBA, Global MBA, Part-time MBA, and the MS in Human Resource Management, MS in Digital Innovation in Marketing and Online Bachelor of Business Administration programs will receive more than $1.4 million.
“It’s an unfortunate situation to have arisen with the rankings, but this lets everybody put this behind Temple, which is in the best interest of everybody,” said Jason Brown, an attorney at JTB Law Group in New Jersey who is representing the students. “Because the longer this endures as a piece of litigation I think the worse off it is for everybody.”
The money will be paid from available insurance coverages and reserves, Kevin Feeley, a Temple spokesman said. Feeley could not specify if tuition dollars would be included in this sum.
The settlement does not include any admission of liability, the university said in a release.
A $5,000 ethics scholarship will be established for a student interested in studying ethics in business and is enrolled in one of the programs involved in the suit, per the terms of the settlement.
The Fox School of Business remains under investigation by the U.S. Department of Education and the state Attorney General’s office. The investigations are to determine if Temple intentionally misrepresented itself and misled students.
An independent report paid for by the university found that officials in the Fox School of Business had knowingly submitted and falsified data to the U.S. News & World Report for its Online MBA and other programs. The Online MBA program had been ranked No. 1 in the country for several years.
The falsified data was part of a broader environment in the business school, focused on achieving high rankings, the report determined. Since then, its longtime dean Moshe Porat was fired from his post and Provost JoAnne Epps added multiple safeguards to ensure data can not be falsified to ranking agencies again.
“As I have said in the past, I remain firm in my belief that our Online MBA program, and the Fox School as a whole, is one of the best in the nation,” University President Richard Englert said in an email to students on Thursday. “It remains an excellent choice for students who want an exceptional education in a vibrant urban environment.”
The settlement was sent to the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania for its review.