(105 ILCS 426/85)
Violations under the Act.
(a) The Board's Executive Director has the authority to order any school subject to this Act to cease and desist operations if the school is found to have acted contrary to the standards set forth in this Act or supporting rules.
(b) The Board's Executive Director shall, before refusing to issue or renew, and before revocation of any certificate or permit, at least 10 days prior to the date set for the hearing, notify in writing the applicant for or holder of a certificate or permit (the respondent) that a hearing shall be held on the date designated to determine whether the respondent is privileged to hold such certificate or permit, and shall afford the respondent an opportunity to be heard in person or by counsel in reference thereto. The written notice may be served by delivery of the same personally to the respondent, or by mailing the same by registered mail to the place of business last specified by the respondent in the last notification to the Board's Executive Director. At the time and place fixed in the notice, the Board's Executive Director or his or her designated hearing officer shall proceed to hear the charges and both the respondent and the complainant shall be accorded ample opportunity to present in person or by counsel such statements, testimony, evidence, and arguments as may be pertinent to the charges or to any defense thereto. The Board's Executive Director or his or her designated hearing officer may continue such hearing from time to time. If the Board's Executive Director shall not be sitting at the time and place fixed in the notice or at the time and place to which the hearing shall have been continued, the Board's Executive Director or his or her designated hearing officer shall continue such hearing for a period not to exceed 30 days. Failure of the respondent to appear on the date set for hearing or failure to proceed as ordered by the Board's Executive Director or his or her designated hearing officer shall constitute a default and automatic revocation.
(c) The Board's Executive Director is authorized to subpoena and bring before a hearing officer any person or persons in this State and to take testimony either orally or by deposition or by exhibit, with the same fees and mileage and in the same manner as prescribed by law in judicial proceedings in civil cases in circuit courts of this State.
The Board's Executive Director or the designated hearing officer shall administer oaths to witnesses at any hearing that the Board's Executive Director is authorized by law to conduct.
(d) Any circuit court, upon the application of the respondent or complainant or of the Board's Executive Director, may by order duly entered, require the attendance of witnesses and the production of relevant books and papers before any hearing the Board's Executive Director is authorized to conduct, and the court may compel obedience to its order by proceedings for contempt.
(e) The Board shall establish rules for the appeal of
decisions to revoke the permit of approval. At a minimum, the
rules shall include all of the following:
(1) The school must be notified of the revocation in
writing through registered mail or other appropriate notification.
(2) The school has 10 business days after
notification to request an appeal of the decision.
(3) The Board shall not be required to schedule a
hearing and has the option to waive a hearing if the institution has not operated for one continuous, 12-month period or the institution has been abandoned; however, even in these cases, the Board shall be required to revoke the authority at a public hearing at which any opponent who is injured or impacted by the revocation must be given the opportunity to be heard.
(4) The Board shall designate a hearing officer, who
shall schedule and conduct a hearing.
(5) The hearing officer shall make a final
administrative decision, which decision may be reviewed judicially by the circuit court in accordance with subsection (f) of this Section.
(f) Any person affected by a final administrative decision of the Board's Executive Director may have such decision reviewed judicially by the circuit court of the county wherein the person resides, or in the case of a corporation, wherein the registered office is located. If the plaintiff in the review proceeding is not a resident of this State, the venue shall be in Sangamon County. The provisions of the Administrative Review Law, and all amendments and modifications thereof, and the rules adopted pursuant thereto, shall apply to and govern all proceedings for the judicial review of final administrative decisions of the Board's Executive Director. "Administrative decisions" has the same meaning as in Section 3-101 of the Code of Civil Procedure.
(g) Except for the violations enumerated in subsection (e) of this Section, any owner, operator, or authorized agent of a school who knowingly violates any provision of this Act is guilty of a business offense.
(h) Any owner, operator, or authorized agent of a private business and vocational school who commits any of the following offenses is guilty of a Class A misdemeanor for the first offense and a Class 4 felony for the second or subsequent offense:
(1) Knowingly, and for the purpose of influencing or
inducing a person to enroll in the program of study offered by the school, makes any false or misleading statements, misrepresentations, or false promises to the person regarding opportunities upon graduation from the school for (i) employment in a business, industry, or trade, (ii) admission to an institution of higher learning, or (iii) admission to an occupational licensing examination.
(2) Knowingly, and with intent to defraud, retains in
excess of the school's refund policy prescribed in this Act any unearned tuition or fees paid by a student who has cancelled his or her enrollment agreement and is entitled to a refund.
(3) Knowingly, and with intent to defraud,
misrepresents that any student who has cancelled his or her enrollment agreement is presently enrolled in the school, has completed the program of study, or has graduated from the school.
(4) Knowingly uses or attempts to use students in any
commercial or manufacturing activity related to the operation of the school and to the school's advantage and profit, except to the extent that the school provides the student with practical experience supplemental to the course of instruction or except in the case of students who are employed by the school and compensated for such employment.
(i) The Board shall adopt rules to pursue resolution of complaints. At a minimum, the rules shall include all of the following:
(1) Student complaints must be submitted in writing
(2) Board staff shall contact the school about the
complaint by registered mail or other appropriate notification. The school has 10 business days to respond to the Board about the complaint. The Board shall provide a resolution determination to the school. The school may request a hearing about the proposed resolution within 10 business days after the delivery of the complaint by registered mail or other appropriate notification. If the school does not abide by the resolution determination, then the Board can issue a cease and desist order to the school. If the school does not comply with the cease and desist order, then the Board may revoke the school's permit of approval.
(3) The complaint may be forwarded to the
institution's accrediting body.
(4) The Board shall annually issue a public report
about the complaints received. At a minimum, the report shall include the institution, the nature of the complaint, and the current resolution status of the complaint. No individual student shall be named in the report.
(j) Upon application of the Board's Executive Director, the Attorney General or any State's Attorney, the Circuit Court of each county in which a violation of this Act or the rules and regulations has occurred, shall have jurisdiction to enjoin any violation thereof.
(k) The following acts or omissions by an owner, operator, or authorized agent of a private business and vocational school shall constitute violations of this Act and unlawful practices pursuant to the Consumer Fraud and Deceptive Business Practices Act:
(1) False or misleading statements,
misrepresentations, or false promises that have the tendency or capacity to influence or induce persons to enroll in the program of study offered by the school.
(2) Failure or refusal of the school to make the
disclosures in advertising materials in the enrollment agreement and on its Internet website as required by this Act, or the making of false or inaccurate statements in such disclosures.
(3) Failure or refusal of the school to refund fees
and unearned tuition, in accordance with the refund policy prescribed by this Act, to any student who cancels his or her enrollment agreement.
(4) Failure or refusal of the school to employ course
instructors under conditions presented to the Board to satisfy the requirements of this Act or to provide the equipment, facilities, or services necessary to implement the program of study as presented to the Board to satisfy the requirements of the Act.
(l) Whenever the Attorney General or a State's Attorney receives a complaint against a private business and vocational school that alleges one or more of the violations enumerated in subsection (k) of this Section, he or she may conduct an investigation to determine the validity of the complaint and, if a violation or violations are found, may use any or all of the remedies, penalties, or authority granted to him or her by the Consumer Fraud and Deceptive Business Practices Act to correct such violations and enforce the provisions of this Act. Within 10 business days after receipt, the Board shall transmit to the Attorney General and the appropriate State's Attorney copies of complaints filed in the Board's office that allege one or more of the violations enumerated in subsection (k) of this Section.
(m) Any person who suffers damages as a result of a violation of this Act committed by a school or its representative may bring an action against the school. The court, in its discretion, may award actual damages, treble actual damages if fraud is proved, injunctive relief, and any other relief that the court deems proper.
Such action may be commenced in the county where the school is located or has its principal place of business or in the county where the transaction or any substantial portion thereof occurred.
In any action brought by a person under this Section, the court may award, in addition to the relief provided in this Section, reasonable attorney's fees and costs to the prevailing party.
Either party to an action under this Section may request a trial by jury.
(Source: P.A. 97-650, eff. 2-1-12.)