REMINDER: Things You Can No Longer Say or Write In Education Marketing
Note: Yes, this isn’t in any way “breaking” news of any kind, but it’s always important to remind one’s self of things that could potentially get them sued for oodles and oodles of money, yes? Yes!
Some very important and relatively new information for any of you either currently running education marketing or planning to do so in the near future. Per the Media Trust blog:
– Avoid using the BLS stats on national averages if it does not accurately reflect local employment. Recommended to use local stats that are documented and avoid BLS generalized employment references
– Avoid salary claims – don’t make them unless you can prove it from graduate stats
– Avoid generalized placement statistics that are not accurate – whether it’s student, accreditor or government
– No Help Wanted advertising whatsoever – avoid posting ads in the help wanted section of classifieds and on “job postings” for sites such as craigslist, kijiji. Need to check to see if your lead providers and affiliates are doing this
– Relationship to employers promoted to suggest connections IMPLY better job opportunities
– “Lifetime placement” – don’t make this claim in case the program may not be available in the future or for any other reason that you may not be able to stand behind this claim
– What you don’t say can hurt you – preconditions of employment being one of them (criminal record requirements, existing medical conditions etc – policy needs to be in place pre-enrollment)
– Implied strong employment outcomes – claims needs to be based on documented outcomes
– Avoid terms such as “in Demand”, “Fastest growing career”, “high job placement”, “good jobs”, “high salary” and the like unless these are accurate and documented locally
– You’ll want to keep the tone to “financial aid for those who qualify”. Not promote your department as having an advantage in the application process. Keep things factual
– Scholarships – need to be true (discounts are not representative of scholarships)
– Misinforming students right to refuse financial aid
– Avoid terms such as “state of the art”, “modern”, “cutting edge” if this is not 100% representative of your school
– Small class sizes – needs to be 100% true
– Can not state approval or endorsement by the Department of Education to the quality of the education programs. It’s suggested that you apply this to your accrediting agencies as well if they are stated on any promotional material
– Avoid terms such as Start a Career in XXX in as little as …. – this would be a false claim as it’s likely not 100% true in all cases
– Do not claim program length without noting which study type it is (part time/ full time)
– Certified – avoid general claims to certification. If you mention certification, you must disclose the certification body and whether that particular certification will meet any preconditions of employment
– Can not state any employment opportunities without disclosing if further training or certification is required and if your program meets the requirements for preparing for certification. Must disclose whether the program meets all employment requirements
– Suggest credit transfers without disclosing any limitations
– Misleading statements about faculty expertise or experience
Overall: What you don’t say may hurt you – don’t leave out any details that could be misinterpreted or misleading. Base on fact.
– You need to monitor what others are saying about you as well as “indirect” statements about your school that are not factual will be a problem
– Affiliates come to mind – need to monitor the conversion about your school on the web and protect your reputation. You may need to draft a cease and desist order to distribute if needed to cover your bases
You can read the rest over at: http://blog.mediatrust.com/2011/09/compliance-notes-things-you-can-no-longer-say-or-write-in-education-marketing/#ixzz1XptARWmk (Under Creative Commons License: Attribution)
Make sure you do if this directly applies to your Internet Marketing endeavors.
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