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BOISE -- The federal government is suing a for-profit college chain in Idaho and Utah because prosecutors say the school illegally recruited students.

U.S. Attorney Wendy Olson announced the False Claims Act lawsuit against Stevens-Henager College Inc. and its owner, The Center for Excellence in Higher Education, on Thursday.

The Department of Justice and Department of Education allege the college paid incentives to recruiters based on the number of students they enrolled. Federal law prohibits those sorts of recruitment payments in an effort to reduce student loan default rates and to prevent unqualified students from being enrolled.

The federal agencies brought the case after two former employees filed a whistleblower lawsuit against the college.

A call to a spokesman for the college chain and its owner was not immediately returned.

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