BBB National Programs Archive

ERSP Reviews Advertising for Vaughn College, Recommends Marketer Modify or Discontinue Certain Claims

New York, NY – May 19, 2016 – The Electronic Retailing Self-Regulation Program (ERSP) has recommended that Vaughn College modify or discontinue certain claims in its advertising.

ERSP is an investigative unit of the advertising industry’s system of self-regulation and is administered by the Council of Better Business Bureaus. The marketer’s advertising came to the attention of ERSP through its ongoing monitoring program.

ERSP reviewed online and broadcast advertising claims for Vaughn College, including:

  • “92% of Vaughn grads are employed or continue their education within one year”
  • “Average starting salaries:
  • $61,125 – Mechatronics
  • $45,255 – Engineering Technology
  • $45,050 – Aircraft Operation (flight)
  • $45,585 – Management
  • $34,551 – Aviation Maintenance”

 As support for it claims, Vaughn College submitted results from its graduate outcome survey.

Following its review of the evidence in the record, ERSP determined that the unintended message that 92% of Vaughn grads are employed in either their major field of study, a related field or were continuing their education, could be inferred from the advertising and that such an inference was not supported by the survey results. ERSP noted that even if those respondents who were working in jobs unrelated to their field of study were included in the calculation, the number was still slightly less than the advertised figure.

ERSP also recommended that the advertising of average starting salaries of the particular aeronautic positions featured on the website be modified to clearly and conspicuously disclose the basis for those representations.

The college, in its marketer’s statement, said, “The Vaughn College of Aeronautics and Technology appreciates the work of the ERSP and its review of online advertising practices.  The input provided by ERSP has been helpful and informative and consistent with Vaughn’s mission to better inform and serve its students. We appreciate the ERSP’s review and input, and will work to implement the ERSP’s recommendations.”