For-profit education company Career Education Corp. (CEC) has agreed to reform its recruiting and enrollment practices and forego collecting more than $493.7 million in debts owed by 179,529 students nationally.

Tennessee Attorney General Herbert H. Slatery III said the agreement affects 2,866 students in Tennessee who collectively will get relief of more than $5.5 million.

"This settlement holds CEC accountable for what we allege were unfair and deceptive recruitment and enrollment practices," Slatery said Thursday in a settlement with CEC among 49 attorneys general across the country. "We are pleased Tennessee students will receive debt relief and that the settlement will require CEC to change its business practices for future students."

CEC is based in Schaumburg, Ill., and offers primarily online courses through American InterContinental University and Colorado Technical University.

CEC has closed or phased out many of its schools over the past 10 years. Its brands have included Briarcliffe College, Brooks Institute, Brown College, Harrington College of Design, International Academy of Design & Technology, Le Cordon Bleu, Missouri College, and Sanford-Brown. A federal investigation found that CEC used emotionally charged language to pressure students into enrolling and the school deceived students about the total costs of enrollment by instructing its admissions representatives to inform prospective students only about the cost per credit hour without disclosing the total number of required credit hours.


Tesla cuts prices as demand slows

Tesla made about 9,300 more vehicles than it delivered last year, raising concerns among industry analysts that inventory is growing as demand for the company's electric cars may be starting to wane.

A drop in demand could also curtail the company's earnings and jeopardize CEO Elon Musk's promise to post sustained quarterly profits.

On Wednesday, Tesla did cut prices, knocking $2,000 off each of its three models. The company said the cuts will help customers deal with the loss of a $7,500 federal tax credit, which was reduced to $3,750 this month for Tesla buyers and will gradually go to zero by the end of 2019.

"They have for a long time had more demand than supply," Gartner analyst Michael Ramsey said. "It's becoming apparent that that dynamic is changing."

Tesla reported that it produced 254,530 cars and SUVs last year and delivered 245,240.


Cagle, Mainda join State Chamber board

Leisa Cagle, a vice president and controller at McKee Foods in Collegedale, and Hodgen Mainda, a vice president at EPB, are among 10 new directors elected to the Tennessee Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

Founded in 2012, the Tennessee Chamber is one of Tennessee's oldest and most prominent statewide business trade associations and also serves as the Tennessee Manufacturers Association. The 54-member board for the Tennessee Chamber is the governing body and helps direct the Chamber's annual legislative and policy agenda that guide the work of the business advocacy group.


Mortgage rates fall but above a year ago

Mortgage buyer Freddie Mac said Thursday the average rate on the benchmark 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage declined to 4.51 percent from 4.55 percent last week. Despite recent declines, home borrowing rates remain far above last year's levels. The key 30-year rate averaged 3.95 percent a year ago.

The average rate for 15-year fixed-rate loans edged down to 3.99 percent this week from to 4.01 percent last week.

Mortgage rates began to spike after President Donald Trump signed broad tax cuts, financed by government deficits, into law in December 2017. But rates have eased in recent weeks amid steep declines in the stock market and tumbling interest rates on the 10-year U.S. Treasury note — which influences long-term mortgage rates.

Low mortgage rates and slowing growth in home prices "should get prospective homebuyers excited to buy," Freddie Mac chief economist Sam Khater said.


UAW sues GM over temp staff

The United Auto Workers union is accusing General Motors of violating a national contract by using temporary workers instead of employing full-timers who were laid off from its factories.

The union filed a federal lawsuit in Cleveland alleging that GM has temporary workers at its pickup truck plant in Fort Wayne, Indiana. The lawsuit says GM has about 1,000 workers on layoff from several factories who should be working at the plant.

The UAW says its contract with GM requires it to hire the laid-off workers, including 690 at a small-car plant in Lordstown, Ohio, which is scheduled to close in March. The legal move is another sign of acrimony between GM and the union ahead of negotiations on a new contract that will start this summer. GM's contract with the union expires on Sept. 14.

GM wouldn't say how many temporary workers are employed in Fort Wayne, but the company says it started the process late last year to bring in about 50 laid-off Lordstown workers. About 35 will be working in Fort Wayne by the end of January, GM said in a statement.

In November, GM announced plans to shutter five factories this year as it adjusts to lower demand for cars.