WASHINGTON -- The government is suing the operators of the for-profit DeVry University, alleging they misled consumers about students' job and earnings prospects.

In the complaint announced Wednesday, the Federal Trade Commission said it was deceptive for DeVry to claim that 90 per cent of its graduates actively seeking employment landed jobs in their fields within six months of graduation.

The agency also says DeVry was misleading when it claimed its graduates had 15 per cent higher incomes one year after graduation on average than graduates of all other colleges or universities.

The commission says numerous graduates that DeVry counted as working "in their field" were actually not. For example, a business major specializing in health services was working in a restaurant as a server.

"Millions of Americans look to higher education for training that will lead to meaningful employment and good pay," FTC Chairwoman Edith Ramirez said in a statement. "Educational institutions like DeVry owe prospective students the truth about their graduates' success finding employment in their field of study and the income they can earn."

DeVry, based in Downers Grove, Illinois, has more than 55 campuses across the country, offering degree programs in business, technology and healthcare technology.