Trump University a Scam Say Former Employees: Cost to Attend, Earnings and Lawsuits

Donald Trump allegedly earned up to $5 million off Trump University.

Trump University scam

Newly-released documents in the New York civil suit against Trump University reveal what former employees think of the now-defunct institution — and things don’t look good for Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump.

U.S. District Judge Gonzalo Curiel ordered the release of internal Trump University documents on Friday, and they were officially unsealed Tuesday. Here’s what former employees had to say about Trump University, other ongoing lawsuits and the cost to attend.

Did You Know? Donald Trump Makes Over $250 Million a Year

Trump University Lawsuit Allegations

Former Trump University employees say the school didn’t deliver on promises to students, calling it a “fraudulent scheme” and “a total lie,” revealed court documents. Former Trump University sales manager Ronald Schnackenberg admitted to engaging in tactics that targeted the elderly and uneducated, noting his belief that “Trump University was engaging in misleading, fraudulent and dishonest conduct.”

Filed in 2013 by New York State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, the $40 million civil suit against Trump University accuses the school of engaging in fraud and false advertising techniques to convince students courses could help them build a fortune like Donald Trump.

Active from 2005 to 2010, Trump University entered the spotlight thanks to its namesake, who spent much of his presidential campaign saying his school earned an A-plus rating from the Better Business Bureau — failing to mention it earlier received a D-minus.

Schneiderman plans to move to trial quickly and expects to call Donald Trump and the school’s president, Michael Sexton, as witnesses.

Trump University Tuition and Earnings

Students paid a premium to attend the non-accredited Trump University. Access to web seminars cost between $1,500 and $35,000.

According to the lawsuit, approximately 80,000 people attended the school’s free introductory webinars, with approximately 9,200 proceeding to pay $1,495 for three-day seminars. Roughly 800 students spent up to $35,000 for mentoring and workshop packages. According to Schneiderman, Trump might have earned up to $5 million in profits from Trump University.

Trump University by the Numbers
Type of SeminarNumber of AttendeesCost Per SeminarEstimated Earnings
Free Introductory Webinar80,000$0$0
Three-Day Seminar9,200$1,495$13,754,000
Mentoring & Workshop Packages800$35,000$28,000,000
$41,754,000
* Number of attendees and costs obtained from 2013 lawsuit against Trump University.

Other Trump University Lawsuits

The Trump University lawsuit in New York isn’t the only one pending against the former school. Two class-action lawsuits are also underway in San Diego.

Art Cohen v. Donald J. Trump, filed in 2013 by California businessman Art Cohen, a former Trump University student, accuses the GOP frontrunner of misleading students. Tarla Makaeff v. Trump University was filed in 2010 and brought by former students. That lawsuit accuses Trump University of similar allegations, including violation of state consumer protections, false advertising and financial elder abuse statutes.

The class action lawsuits represent thousands of former students from California, Florida and New York.

Was Trump University a Scam?