Trump 'University' Settling With Former Students for $25 Million

Donald Trump with Michael Sexton in 2005 (Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)
Donald Trump with Michael Sexton in 2005 (Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)

Donald Trump’s former “university” has been accused of bilking students out of their hard-earned cash. The man himself was supposed to appear in court later this month to face the charges, but it looks like we won’t see the President-elect testify. Reuters is now reporting that Trump University and the plaintiffs have reached a settlement of $25 million.


Back in August of 2015 Gizmodo was the first to publish complaints filed with the FTC accusing Trump University of fraudulent behavior. Those complaints would be used against Trump to little effect by opponents like Marco Rubio.

“I feel the Donald Trump school scammed good and honest people in believing the school would help them in the Real Estate business,” one of the complaints filed with the FTC said. “For my $35,000+ all I got was books that I could have gotten from the library that could guide me better then Trump’s class did.”

Other complaints alleged that the students learned absolutely nothing useful and spent thousands of dollars on classes and personal coaches that provided little in return.

Trump had previously promised to take the case to trial no matter what the cost to clear his good name, but that appears to have been a lie.

“Do you know that almost everybody in the lawsuit has signed a letter saying how great the school was?” Trump said on MSNBC back in February, without providing the context that the letters were signed in front of their instructors. “That’s why I won’t settle because it’s an easy case to win in court.”

It’s not immediately clear what the exact terms of the settlement might be beyond the dollar figure, but given Trump’s previous legal troubles we doubt he’ll admit to any wrongdoing.


Update, 4:25pm: The New York Attorney General has issued a statement:

In 2013, my office sued Donald Trump for swindling thousands of innocent Americans out of ​millions of dollars through a scheme known at Trump University. Donald Trump fought us every step of the way, filing baseless charges and fruitless appeal​s​ and refusing to settle for even modest amounts of compensation for the victims of his phony university. Today, that all changes. Today’s $25 million settlement agreement is a stunning reversal by Donald Trump and a major victory for the over 6,000 victims of his fraudulent university.

I am pleased that under the terms of this settlement, every victim will receive restitution and that Donald Trump will pay up to $1 million in penalties to the State of New York for violating state education laws. The victims of Trump University have waited years for today’s result and I am pleased that their patience—and persistence—will be rewarded by this $25 million settlement.



Matt Novak is a senior writer at Gizmodo and founder of He's writing a book about the movies U.S. presidents watched at the White House, Camp David, and on Air Force One.


The Ghost of James Madison's Rage Boner

Likely the first of many settlements. Clearly the decks of active lawsuits against him before he takes office is probably a good idea.


given Trump’s previous legal troubles we doubt he’ll admit to any wrongdoing

Settlements pretty much never result in admissions of wrongdoing, unless you’re settling with a government agency and they require you to make such a statement.