University of Phoenix - Class Action Law Suit: Misuse of Title IV Funds and Accounting Practices
I am a United States Marine on the Temporarily Disabled Retired List residing in Charlotte, NC. I qualified and received a federal student loan to pay for my University of Phoenix education. Coexisting with enrollment, I was contracted with Bank of America for the approximate loan amount of $9, 000.00 - $10, 000.00; a loan authorized under the Title IV federal student loan program. My financial agreement and obligations were designated and contracted to federal financial aid only. I am unable to finance education without federal assistance; if I was unable to pursue federal loan I would have not nor considered an education through University of Phoenix if put into the stipulation of a cash payment basis. According to Federal guidelines, University of Phoenix is entitled to a pro-rata share of tuition consequent to the amount of time I attended their online campus. This pro-rata sum was to be deducted from my federal loan that had been received by the University of Phoenix. Instead of accepting the payment from my federal loan, without consent, University of Phoenix improperly returned my federal loan monies, informing me that I was now responsible and obligated to pay any outstanding balance that the return of my federal loan had left on my University of Phoenix account.
I provided payment to the University of Phoenix in the form of a federal student Title IV loan which satisfied my contractual obligation to pay for the time I attended UOP. The University of Phoenix's actions extinguished my debt for the institutions own purposes without consent. All efforts by University of Phoenix to collect on the amount they paid off without consent is not based on contract, nor reflects any obligation that I have undertaken with the University of Phoenix.
University of Phoenix's action had no bearing or validation in interfering with my contract between my lenders. The actions by the institution Apollo Group and University of Phoenix to extinguish that debt without my consent gives them no legal or lawful entitlement to collect the funds directly from me. This has not only imposed a prerequisite that was not contracted or agreed upon, but an illegal attempt to convert a federal student Title IV loan owed to a third party lender, which provides certain privileges and rights; into a new and different debt owed to the University of Phoenix.
University of Phoenix now represented themselves that if I were not pay off the debt in full immediately; my account would be turned over to collections damaging my credit. My protest involves abuse with federal monies, breach of contract, false advertisement on University Accreditation, appalling enrollment tactics, breach of verbal agreements. This university has tainted any consumer protection provided to Civilians, United States Military Service Men and Woman by the American Government. There are numerous lawsuits and thousands of consumer complaints of this academic institutions practices; and it is time action be commenced on the behalf of American people who have been wronged.
This university has not only misconduct itself as a academic institution, but taken advantage of thousands of North Carolina Civilians and Military Service Men and Woman with false advertisement with hopes of a better future, but the whole American Public from coast to coast. I do not understand as serving this country in the Marine Corps; how our local state and federal governments could allow this leading high profiting university take advantage of us in this manner. There are thousands upon thousands complaints to consumer web sites, Department of Higher Education, Federal Trade Commission, and State Attorney Generals offices but yet action has to be taken against this institution and their unethical practices. Due to the enormous revenue generated by this organization, the company has become so powerful that it can manipulate political entities. One such entity is the Department of Education. If the Department of Education decided to perform due diligence and complete a rigorous audit of the companies accounting practices and uses of TITLE IV funding, the Department of Education would have no other choice than to strip the organization of TITLE IV funding. Matter of fact, the Department of Education could have used the organizations latest legal issue regarding religious discrimination (preference to Mormon's) as a basis to eliminate TITLE IV funding; however, as usual this body of government choose to look the other way. Furthermore, the organization continues to walk a thin line in complying with TITLE IV funding in addition to other compliance issues such as FERPA (Federal Education Rights Privacy Act) and DNC (Do not call) violations. Due to these ongoing compliance issues, the Department of Education could revoke its funding and strip the University of its Accreditation; however, the Department of Education much like many of its other political counterparts choose to ignore the problem by monitoring rather than enforcing.
So why does the Department of Education stand absentmindedly by and let the organization do as it pleases? There are three reasons for the Department of Education's "Hands Off" policy as it relates to Apollo Group, Inc and the University of Phoenix. Those reasons are as follows: 1) the power struggle between government entities and corporate America. The financial wealth of the organization has become so massive and powerful that it can and does influence the political institution that governs its behavior. 2) The power of money extends to its lobbyists, shareholders, and the political influence of those shareholders. The politically influential shareholders have a self-interest in the financial well-being of Apollo Group, Inc. I could list a number of politicians who hold Apollo Group, Inc. shares; however, I fear retribution if I were to name names. Here in North Carolina, I may even come up missing. Thus, those individuals will use that power to prevent any financial harm to the organization because it will impact their financial stake in the organization as well. 3) Due to the company being the largest private educational institution, the company has the largest number of students that could be negatively impacted. If the Department of Education decided to stop TITLE IV funding, chaos would ensue due to the mass exodus of students to other institutions. In addition, how does the Department of Education manage the funds previously and currently distributed to existing students? As a result of these concerns, the Department of Education has taken a "hand off", wait-and-see, monitoring approach rather than perform the duties expected of the organization such as enforcement. By far from taking advantage of military personnel, low and middle class civilians; this institution contains sky-scraping numbers in profit of tax payer's money through federal education programs in this economic downfall. I plead as a United States Marine and an American; please shoot the Phoenix down already; let the public be aware. Too many families and civilians have been hurt and mistreated and now is the time for action.
REMINDER TO INDIVDUALS ABOUT TO JOIN UNIVESIRTY OF PHOENIX: If you're not sure...Do not Start Class They can schedule you for class several weeks in advance and certify your Financial Aid before you accrue a bill. Why take chances? It is not them who will suffer if something goes sideways. Never sign a form called an "Authorization to Close" unless you know exactly what it means. You need to understand both the good and bad aspects of signing this form. University of Phoenix usually doesn't volunteer the possible negative side of issues. There will be those of you who will say you work for University of Phoenix and have not experienced any of this. Congratulations, that does not make what I have written less factual or the other thousand complaints listed in the Federal Trade Commission Data Base.
THE QUESTION OF ACCREDITATION: Apollo Group, Inc. educational institutions are not accredited at the same levels of other prestigious institutions for certain disciplines such as business degrees. Please check out the MBA program and its accrediting body. The university misleads students into believing that its MBA degree and other business degrees are on PAR with other institutions such as Harvard and others. For this alone, the University should be chastised by the Department of Education for using substandard business practices in the recruitment of its business students. This does not apply to only business students, but students in other programs such as Nursing, Counseling, and Education. Remember, INTEL dropped their affiliation with the university for some of these reasons and more.
All I can say is BUYER BEWARE.
HOW TO GET OUT AFTER YOU GET IN:
# 1: Ignore your financial, academic, and enrollment counselors. These individuals are trained and coached in sales strategies to discourage students from dropping out or transferring. Also, do not fall for the Financial Aid/Student Loan/Return to Lender scare tactic. These are strategies used to put fear into students in order to keep them in class and not to leave the institution. Another tactic is the two week break tactic. Counselor are trained and coached to keep students from not taking a break longer than two weeks. If a student takes a break longer than two weeks, the student is considered a t-drop [UOPX terminology] student which affects the performance matrix of the counselors. The performance matrix is a measure or device in which counselors are evaluated for raises. The matrix can be manipulated in several ways and often times done so by management. The intent of the matrix is to force a sales-based, pay for performance strategy at the university. The performance pay structure travels a thin line in being compliant with the Department of Education requirements for paying counselors. Again, the Department of Education has turned its head away from discouraging this practice and forcing the university to use another pay structure.
#2: Make sure your account is paid in full at the time you take your last class. DO NOT spend your financial aid money if you know that you will be leaving the school. If you have funds on account or received an excess check, DO NOT spend these funds either. THIS IS THE HOOK. If you do not have the ability to pay this back at the time that you quit, you will not be able to obtain financial aid at another institution or have your transcripts sent to another institution for evaluation to be admitted. If you owe money to any institution at Apollo Group, be prepared for a tumultuous journey of leaving the institution. You will continue to be harassed by all your counselors and at some point the collections department.
#3: Demand an Official Withdrawal Form and make sure to get confirmation that it has been submitted to University Services by any of your counselors. DO NOT violate any student code of conduct policy. Violating this code could prevent you from being accepted as a potential transfer student at another institution.
#4: DO NOT let them intimidate you.
DO NOT refer people to the institution. Prevent them from attending out of their best interest. Trust me when I say look for other institutions. Today, many traditional schools including junior colleges offer online classes that are convenient for all learners. In the past, Apollo Group, Inc. had a monopoly on the industry resulting in its rapid growth over the last 20 years. In addition, beware of other similar online institutions such as Grand Canyon University, Kaplan University, The Art Institute, and South University with the later two belonging to EDMC. EDMC current president is Todd Nelson. Mr. Nelson is the former president of Apollo Group, Inc. I recommend goggling Todd Nelson, University of Phoenix, and learn the history of his administration and the legal battles incurred under his administration prior to attending or working for any institution under the EDMC umbrella. Also, I would recommend goggling Brian Mueller, University of Phoenix, and Grand Canyon University too. Mr. Mueller replaced Mr. Nelson at Apollo Group, Inc. and recently left Apollo Group, Inc. to become the President of Grand Canyon University. Many former employee's of Apollo Group, Inc. now work at those institutions. I wonder why?
If you want a quality education from a respectable institution, search out those institutions that were brick and mortar schools that now have established online classes. A few examples of these types of schools to consider would be University of Texas, University of Tennessee, and the University of Nebraska-Omaha. You may need to meet a more stringent entrance requirement and be required to take a graduate entrance exam, but in the long-run you will definitely receive a better ROI (return on investment) on your education and institution.
IF YOU HAVE BEEN WRONGED BY THE UNIVERSITY OF PHOENIX / AXIA COLLEGE / APOLLO GROUP: HERE IS A LIST OF CONTACTS TO INCREASES FEDERAL INVOLEMENT AND ACTIONS
Make sure you file reports and complaints with these Federal and State Offices or Departments. The more filed will increase awareness and investigation on the University of Phoenix. Also, will assist with legal litigation in your pursuit of judgment against the University.
1) Federal Trade Commission
2) State Congressman / State Senators
3) Department of Higher Education Federal
4) Department of Higher Education State
5) State Attorney General
6) Better Business Bureau
7) Contact your Local and National News Reporting Stations
PENDING CLASS ACTION SUIT CONTACT & RESOURCES:
Current Class Action Lawsuit I am involved in against the University of Phoenix/ Axia College/ Apollo Group Contact:
Write her a detailed informative report of your incident with the University's actions so that it can be forwarded to the Legal Counsel for further review. Also leave contact information such as an email and telephone number so the Legal Counsel will be able to contact you.
Class Action Lawyers: http://www.classactionconnect.com/
I value that some may reply to this with their own implications of why University of Phoenix is illustrious and individuals on this form are being immature. Please do be advised that I am a United States Marine who does not take pleasure in going through any legal litigation with any cooperation or anyone at that. Individuals have been harmed and ill-treated by this academic institution. Respect their statements if you have experienced other wise than they have. If you feel that you have been a victim of this academic institution; please take action for yourself and the sake of other future students. I am not the only military personnel who has experienced this; but accept as true when I remark that I and other Marines will not stand by and be walked on by a deceitful academic institution such as this. If you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to reach me at my personal email. Thanks
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