For-profit Gripe

Going to a for-profit school is the reason I am over $100,000 in debt.  Ignorance guided me.  In 2005, I had no clue there were different types of student loans.  I didn’t understand any of the legal jargon on my promissory notes.  I thought the financial aid advisors had my best interest in mind.  I’d give anything to travel back in time with the knowledge I possess today.  I’m no expert, but I’ve come to be very knowledgeable about the predatory nature of student loans and the scam that for-profits run.  I will do everything I can to steer current and prospective students away from making the same mistakes I have.

I came across this article yesterday, targeting EDMC (owner of over 100 for-profit colleges).

EDMC’s schools received $1.8 billion dollars in federal grants and loans in 2010 alone, according a report on for-profit schools by the U.S. Senate. That’s taxpayer money.”

This hits the nail on the head, folks.  They’re not only scamming students with a lifetime of debt, they’re also scamming the taxpayers!  This is not about a bunch of students who made bad decisions…this about running a scam and we’re all getting screwed!

Some statistics from the AI I attended.  Current tuition for a BA program:  $86,940 (this is tuition ALONE), does not include the starting fees, supplies and textbooks, housing fees or other fees.  That’s easily well over $100,000 for 3 years.  I can tell you that tuition has increased by over $20,000 since I registered.  Has the education improved?  I highly doubt that!  What’s sad is that these recruiters are making mostly low-income students believe that they’ll be making $50,000+ once they graduate.  That’s still looking at 20+ years of repayment on student loans.  And it’s not even the truth!   Their graduate employment statistics claim the average salary of all programs combined is $31,578 with 87.7% of all grads gainfully employed.  In the first article I linked to, it mentions how they will skew any job to fit your field to be considered gainful employment.  Here’s another story from a different whistleblower.

Employees were expected to convince graduates that skills they used in jobs such as working as
waiters, payroll clerks, retail sales, and gas station attendants were actually related to their
course of study in areas like graphic design and residential planning.  Also to be counted as
employed for EDMC’s statistics, a graduate only needs to be working at 
their job for merely one
day.  There was no company policy stating that a graduate had to be  currently employed in order
for their job to be counted among the statistics.”

Their job statistics are lies.  Most of my fellow grads are working average Joe jobs making minimum wage (or barely above that) or are going back to school.  The ones that are successful are the exceptions.  Actual success rates are probably less than 20%.  They’re pumping out 100s of graduates each quarter at all 110 institutes.  There’s not enough jobs for a flooded field.

I can’t even begin to explain how I fell for this crap back in 2005.  Everyone was encouraging me to go, to follow my dreams, no matter the cost.  For what would turn into nearly $100,000 in debt, it’s not worth it.  $30,000 and no more is what that education is worth.  They are for-profit only.  I hope more people do their research and put two and two together.

I saw Sallie Mae post this article on their FB page.  The first paragraph mentions “the student loan debt trap.”  Sallie Mae knows it’s a trap.  I wouldn’t be surprised if Sallie Mae was giving my school some incentive to get students to take out private loans with them.  I was under the impression that the first loan I got from AI was a federal loan.  I didn’t find out until 2011 (when I became proactive about my student loan debt) that they had me take out a private loan first, a hefty private loan.  I’m sure Sallie Mae enjoyed every penny of interest that (unknowingly) accrued while I was in school.  And then every penny of interest that was capitalized.  And every penny of interest on that capitalized interest I’ve paid so far (and continue to pay).  I can tell you it’s close to $17,000 in interest alone.

Both Sallie Mae and for-profit schools need to cease to exist.  Education should not be a profiting business.

Update:  I received my certificate in the mail today for the web design program I took with Allied American University online.  I used my MyCAA (military spouse educational) benefits while I still could.  You get about $4500 but it’s only available for ranks E4 and under.  My husband is currently E4 and we expect him to become E5 sometime this year.  Pretty much all the schools listed in the database that I searched through were for-profit, including AAU.  This is just another way for them to make money off the taxpayers!  I took courses online and it was the worst experience ever.  The instructors were more like moderators.  They gave canned questions and feedback.  I could easily get full points for submitting incomplete work.  It was all out of a book.  I feel sorry for anyone who actually paid for these classes.  Buy the H.O.T. book instead!  I once had an issue where some code wasn’t working and when I asked my “instructor” about it, she said, “your code looks right.”  That still didn’t help solve the problem as to why it wasn’t working.  Thanks!

When I first signed up for AAU they told me I tested out of a math class and was assured that MyCAA benefits would cover the full cost of my program, including textbooks.  When I finished the courses they said I would have to take, I was notified that I needed to take an elective in place of that math class I tested out of…and I would have to pay $500 for it!  More docile people may have paid up, but I wasn’t having it and I had proof of the conversation I had with the recruiter!  They waived the fee , then it was a waiting game to see if my credits from AI would transfer and fulfill their requirements.  I’ve heard of people whose credits wouldn’t transfer from AI but by some stroke of luck, mine did.  Once that was cleared, they wanted to charge me a fee for the certificate.  I fought that again, and it was waived.  The worthless POS arrived in the mail today.  I have had it with for-profits!  Avoid them like the plague!

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6 thoughts on “For-profit Gripe

  1. You know, I finally sat down with Aaron to look at his loans earlier this year. We started off with $45k when he graduated some years ago. As of today, we’re only down to $39k. Granted, it is going down, but at an alarmingly slow rate. The interest that we’re paying is sickening. Even though I expect to save a chunk of change at the end of the year, I’m expecting all of that to be dropped on his loans.

    Just some random thoughts. When I saw all of this, I thought of your struggles.

  2. Thanks for leaving a comment! I know how it goes with the interest…feels like you’re running on a treadmill, going no where fast! I recently made a $300 payment and only $10 actually went towards the principal, the rest to interest! It’s ridiculous how these loans work. Most people will pay over 200% of what they originally borrowed!

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