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Lopez v. Caltech

On July 20, 2023, Student Defense, along with co-counsel Altshuler Berzon LLP, filed a class action lawsuit against the California Institute of Technology and Simplilearn Americas, Inc., a for-profit online bootcamp provider, for misleading current and former students enrolled in the school’s online cybersecurity bootcamp. The complaint alleges that Caltech and Simplilearn — as well as Fullstack, another for-profit online program provider purchased by Simplilearn in November 2022 — have misrepresented the cybersecurity bootcamp as a Caltech program even though the course is fully outsourced. 

According to the complaint filed in San Francisco Superior Court, students enroll believing their courses are developed, offered, and taught by Caltech-affiliated faculty and staff, but Caltech plays no role in the course delivery. Caltech’s marketing and recruitment materials never disclose that Simplilearn runs the entire bootcamp and receives the lion’s share of tuition revenue.

“The Caltech Cybersecurity Bootcamp is entirely created and administered—from the recruitment, application and admissions process, through the courses, to career guidance—by Simplilearn,” the complaint alleges. “The Caltech Cybersecurity Bootcamp is a Caltech program in name only.” 

Elva Lopez, the named plaintiff in the case, thought that she was going to receive a prestigious education when she enrolled in the Caltech Cybersecurity Bootcamp and felt blindsided when she learned that the program had nothing to do with Caltech other than the school’s brand being used to market the program. She hopes that the lawsuit will help prevent other students from ending up in her situation.

The lawsuit seeks actual and punitive damages for the named plaintiff and all similarly situated students, along with an injunction to prevent Caltech and Simplilearn from continuing to deceive students. 

The press release issued after this case was filed is available here.

If you are a Caltech Cybersecurity student interested in more information about this lawsuit, please contact us here and let us know about your experience.


News Coverage

Caltech sued over ‘deceptive’ cybersecurity bootcamp | July 20, 2023 | San Francisco Chronicle

Students were charged $10,000 to take the Caltech cybersecurity bootcamp. But the top-ranked school did not run the course, suit claims | July 20, 2023 | MarketWatch

Press Releases

Court Rules in Favor of Students Alleging They Were Misled by Caltech, Simplilearn’s Cybersecurity Bootcamp | April 12, 2024 | Student Defense

Student Defense Files Class-Action Lawsuit Against Caltech, Simplilearn for Misleading Cybersecurity Bootcamp Students | July 20, 2023 | Student Defense

Case Documents