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FTC: University of Phoenix to cancel $141m in student debts as part of settlement over deceptive advertising

(Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

Officials with the Federal Trade Commission announced that University of Phoenix will cancel $141 million in debts owed to the school by students who were harmed by ads that were allegedly deceptive.

FTC officials announced the debt cancellation on Monday, and said it is part of a $191 million settlement over allegations of deceptive advertising.

According to FTC officials, University of Phoenix and its parent company, Apollo Education Group, were accused of relying heavily on advertising to attract students, including specific ads that targeted military and Hispanic consumers.

The ads, officials say, reportedly featured companies such as Microsoft, Twitter, Adobe and Yahoo, and allegedly gave a false impression that University of Phoenix was working with the companies to create job opportunities for its students, when in reality, the companies did not partner with University of Phoenix.

Besides the debt cancellation, FTC officials say University of Phoenix will pay $50 million to the commission, which will be used for consumer redress.

FTC officials note the settlement will not affect student borrowers' federal or private loan obligations.