Over the past month, I have heard horror stories about online colleges. One of them involves my daughter A and the other one involves a daughter of a friend, B. Both girls were enrolled in different online universities. Don’t get me wrong, I think being able to attend classes online is awesome! It provides an opportunity for people who could not necessarily attend classes at a campus to further their education, however, it is wise to look into both the cost and service they provide.
My daughter A inquired about taking classes at an Ashford University. She ended up applying for student loans through the school and registering for classes. She was approved for a pell grant and a student loan. She registered for classes and went through their tests to make sure she could log into her classes. At some point during the semester, she was unable to log into the blackboard. She contacted tech support who sent her a canned response. She did what they told her to do and was still unable to log in. She emailed them again and got no response. She called and left a message and got no response.
She got an email saying that if she did not log in she would fail the classes. She emailed tech support again with no response. She called and left a message with the admissions office and got no response. This went on until the semester was over and she had failed the classes.
B had a totally different experience. She wanted to go to school for nursing and decided to go to Kaplan University. Tuition didn’t seem too bad at their advertised cost of $353 per credit hour. She applied for financial aid through the college and was awarded both a pell grant and a student loan. She registered for 2 classes at a tuition cost of $2824 and did well. At some point during the semester, she discovered that the local community college offered the same course.
Her surprise came toward the end of the semester when she found that the total cost of her two classes came to over $4500. At this cost, if she was taking a full course load, this would have come to over $9000 per semester. Multiply this by the two years that it takes to complete the Nursing program and it adds up to over $36,000 and this price is not including summer semesters.
In comparison, the tuition cost for attending the local community college would be $1142 per semester. This includes all student fees. Books would be extra but she can not only buy them from the college bookstore, she can also buy used books. The total cost should be less than the Pell Grant that she received. The community college also offers some classes online. They also have a 100% placement after graduation.
Even though she was not unhappy with the service that Kaplan was providing, she decided that the wisest thing to do financially would be to attend the community college as she would finish with no student loan debt. The community college also offers a very comparable curriculum.
B called Kaplan to withdraw for the next semester. She spoke with a counselor who told her that they would have to check on something and call her back. She never received a call back. She has called and left several messages with no result. She is now getting email and letters telling her what she needs to do to complete registration. Her calls have gotten no response.
B has taken some steps to prevent being automatically registered at Kaplan. She has transferred the Pell Grant to the community college and has called the student loan lender to advise them that she has withdrawn from Kaplan so they will not be dispursing any further funds to Kaplan. Unfortunately, this does not prevent Kaplan from registering her and billing her for the classes.
I am not sure what contracts either of these girls signed but to their knowledge they are not required to continue for the full two year program. Online learning is such an awesome opportunity and it is a shame that some unscrupulous institutions are taking advantage of unsuspecting people. Here is another horror story from someone who opted let the school finance her education and they are now withholding her diploma until the entire $40,000 is paid. How does she go about getting a job in her field so that she can repay them without a diploma?
- Earning Money Online with CashCrate You see a lot of advertising on the internet about...