BBB Explains D-Minus Grade for Trump University

A nonprofit agency clarifies its ratings of Donald Trump's now-defunct program.

ByABC News
March 8, 2016, 2:23 PM

— -- Donald Trump's now-defunct university received multiple complaints from students, resulting at one point in a "D-minus" grade from the Better Business Bureau, a business ratings agency, said today.

Trump University has been a pointed source of contention during the 2016 presidential race, and the nonprofit BBB is now clarifying its grading of the online education company after Donald Trump’s assertions that the program has an “A” rating from the BBB.

"During the period when Trump University appeared to be active in the marketplace, BBB received multiple customer complaints about this business,” the New York area BBB and its national headquarters said in a statement released today. "These complaints affected the Trump University BBB rating, which was as low as D- in 2010," the statement said.

"As the company appeared to be winding down, after 2013, no new complaints were reported. Complaints over three years old automatically rolled off of the Business Review, according to BBB policy. As a result, over time, Trump University’s BBB rating went to an A in July 2014 and then to an A+ in January 2015.”

Donald Trump has been saying in his front-running GOP presidential campaign that Trump University, which was later renamed Trump Entrepreneur Initiative, has an "A" grade from the BBB.

"We have an "A" from the Better Business Bureau. People like it," Trump said during the Republican presidential debate last week.

But the BBB noted today that the Trump Entrepreneur Initiative "does not currently have an A rating."

"The BBB Business Review for this company has continually been 'No Rating' since September 2015. Prior to that, it fluctuated between D- and A+," the statement said.

Trump’s education company, which effectively ceased operations sometime after 2010, is the subject of three active lawsuits, including one by the New York State Attorney General seeking $40 million in damages for people who were affected by the program.

New York State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman launched an investigation into the program in 2011, and filed the lawsuit against it and Trump in 2013, accusing the now-defunct school of "engaging in specific fraudulent, deceptive and illegal acts."

In court papers, Trump has called any claims of fraud patently false and unsubstantiated.