Why are courts more likely to hear a case from a graduate of a trade school who can't find a job, rather than a college graduate who can't find one? Occasionally a disgruntled college graduate sues a university on the grounds that their tuition payments did not land them a good job. Courts invariably throw out these cases.  They are however, willing to entertain suits against trade schools (those that teach specific skills such as welding and computer repair) by graduates who make the same claims about inability to qualify for jobs that use the skills they learned.  I am trying to determine why there is a difference.

Expert Answers

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The reason for this is that colleges do not make any real promises (or implied promises) about the specific things that they will teach their students.  By contrast, vocational schools definitely make such claims.

Colleges simply promise an education.  There is the hope that the student will then be able to get a job, but the college does not promise to train the student for any particular job or even any particular field of work.  This is exactly what vocational schools do promise.  They are claiming that they will prepare a student to work in a given field.  If a student goes to a beauty school, for example, that student has reason to believe that they will be qualified (after finishing school) to at least take a state test to become a cosmetologist.  

Because the vocational school makes (or implies) a much more specific promise to its students, it can be successfully sued if it fails to prepare them.

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