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American Military University and American Public University / Possible Encouraged Fraud in Deceptive and Questionable Marketing Practices

1 United States Review updated:

An investigation on behalf of former and current students of American Public Education, Inc. (NASDAQ:APEI), including American Military University or American Public University was announced in connection with the report by the Government Accountability Office with the title "For-Profit Colleges: Undercover Testing Finds Colleges Encouraged Fraud in Deceptive and Questionable Marketing Practices."

If you are a former or current student of American Public Education, Inc. (NASDAQ:APEI), including American Military University or American Public University, who experienced any fraud, wrongdoing, deceptive and questionable marketing practices, or had any school loan issues, or if you have information relating to the investigation including also former employees or whistleblowers, you have options and you should contact the Shareholders Foundation, Inc by email or call +[protected]

American Public Education, Inc. is a provider of online postsecondary education. IT operates through two universities, American Military University (AMU) and American Public University (APU), which together constitute the American Public University System. American Public Education, Inc. has been accused of securities fraud by an investor lawsuit for allegedly issuing between February 22, 2010 and August 5, 2010, a series of materially false and misleading statements related its business and operations. The lawsuit followed a report by the U.S. Government Accountability Office with the title “Undercover Testing Finds Colleges Encouraged Fraud and Engaged in Deceptive and Questionable Marketing Practices” which detailed undercover investigations into 15 for-profit schools that uncovered misconduct by school staff.

On August 4, 2010, the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee conducted a hearing on for-profit education firms, where Government Accountability Office representative, George Kutz, presented the findings of report GAO-10-948T, "For-Profit Colleges: Undercover Testing Finds Colleges Encouraged Fraud in Deceptive and Questionable Marketing Practices." The report detailed undercover investigations into 15 for-profit schools that uncovered misconduct by school staff. According to this GAO study, the college personnel at schools owned by Education Management Corp. may have encouraged applicants to falsify their financial aid forms to qualify for federal aid and pressured applicants to sign a contract for enrollment prior to allowing them to speak to a financial advisor.

According to the investigation by a law firm former and current students of American Public Education, Inc may have material information concerning those allegations and may be eligible to file a complaint for allegedly misleading students.

Also whistleblowers may according to the law firm be able to assist or file their own complaint. Under the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act signed into law in July the SEC can award between 10 percent and 30 percent of any monetary sanctions of more than $1 million to whistleblowers who provide “original information” leading to a successful SEC enforcement, so the law firm. Whistleblowers may remain completely anonymous and work with the SEC through an attorney. Under the new law, so the investigation, whistleblowers are also granted expanded rights and protections against employer retaliation when disclosing information of corporate wrongdoing to the SEC.

Recently the Attorney General of Florida Bill McCollum launched an investigation into some for-profit education companies. On October 19, 2010, the Wall Street Journal reported that Florida Attorney General's office has launched an investigation into five for-profit colleges, including four publicly traded schools, seeking information on potential misrepresentations in financial aid, recruitment and other areas. The state is reportedly looking into allegations at Washington Post Co.'s (WPO) Kaplan Inc.--including its Kaplan University, Kaplan Educational Centers and Kaplan College units--and at Education Management Corp.'s (EDMC) Argosy University, Apollo Group Inc.'s (APOL) University of Phoenix; Corinthian Colleges Inc.'s (COCO) Everest College and privately held MedVance Institute.

Those who are former or current studenst of American Public Education, Inc. (NASDAQ:APEI), including American Military University or American Public University, who experienced any fraud, wrongdoing, deceptive and questionable marketing practices, or had any school loan issues, or those who have information relating to the investigation including also former employees or whistleblowers, have options and should contact the Shareholders Foundation, Inc by email or call +[protected]

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  • Sh
      17th of Dec, 2010
    0 Votes

    And you most likely work for one of those schools

  • Sh
      17th of Dec, 2010
    0 Votes

    Sorry about the misperception; I know we were going to risk that but it is just that the GAO report links as many as 15 parent companies to questionable practices and conduct of taking advantage of students in need of financial aid. Thus our goal is to reach out to as many students as possible..and those 15parent companies translate into a huge number of schools..

    T. Allen

  • So
      1st of Jan, 2011
    +2 Votes

    I am a student at the American Military University. My complaint deals with the school holding on to finacial aid money as long as possible. Do they recieve interest on the money until they mail it out?

    I started this semester in August of 2010. My actual classes began Oct 4, 2010. I utilized (tuition assistance) TA to help pay for my tuition. It is now Jan 1, 2011 and I still have not recieved my final disbursement. TA paid the school over 2 weeks ago so I hoped the school would have sent out the final disbursement within a 48 hours, especially since it is the holiday season. When I called and left a message as to when I might expect to recieve the final disbursement, I received a generic email back stating that the check would be mailed before Jan 4, 2010. This did not satisfy me at all.

    The school did not turn a voucher into the military until I almost done with my classes. The financial aid department is either mismanaged or designed to get the most interest out of student aid by holding on to the funds until the last possible minute. I also had to call the last time to get them to send out my final disbursement which is why I was watching it so closely now. If I wasn't already so close to my degree I would definitely switch colleges. To all the military Soldiers out might want to find a college that actually works with military students and trys to support them as opposed to one that sends out generic emails in response to your questions.

  • Li
      5th of Jan, 2012
    +1 Votes

    I am also a student of American Public University and my last semester was in Nov and during that time frame I had severall computer issues where my computer crashed and I was in contact with my teachers and with the school I also advised them I was having internet connection problems. So I basically bombed my last semester so I was put on academic probation I filed and SAP appeal form and it got denied they stated that having computer and internet related problems is not a valid reason for online learning. I then tried to go through Sallie Mae to obtain a loan just enough to cover classes and I went through 6 co-signers all got denied. Now I recieved an email form American Military University telling me to use an authorzation code and log in to important information when I did the information was saying I had to print and sign papers since I wanted to withdrawl from the school which I have never said anything about doing. In their handbook it states that an undergraduate is able to re-take classes that they have failed to replace with a passing grade and also that once on aceademic probation who can still take classes and will remain on probabtion until you bring you GPA up. I was given nothing to even try to improve anything.

  • Be
      15th of May, 2012
    +2 Votes

    I am a Senior at AMU and I agree with the complaints about the financial aid department. I started classes in January '12 and contacted AMU because my financial aid for the next semester didn't post so, I couldn't register for my next classes. I was informed that, even though the funds are sitting in my account (and they still are) that my financial aid was cancelled for the next semester and I woudn't be able to register. I was told I had to wait for them to update my FSA form. When my FSA form updated, it was for classes beginning in June, not May. So, I had to skip a semester because I got no funding. In January, when I did get funding, it took forever for me to get my check. Now, I am registered for June classes and my financial aid packet hasn't even been processed yet. I am supposed to graduate in February and now, I am almost sure that won't happen. As a Senior, I have already chosen my Master's program. My transcripts reflect drop classes and missed semesters - in other words, they reflect badly on my, as a student. There are regulations that prohibit schools from delaying financial aid once a student is eligible. How is AMU getting away with this?

  • Ph
      17th of Jul, 2012
    +1 Votes

    I started my first semester full time at AMU in May 2012. During the first week of classes, I decided to drop one of my classes, and add another during the same spring semester. The class I wanted to add started in June, and according to AMU's own rules, that new 8-week July class should have been added to my spring schedule, but it did not. Instead, it registered that class in my summer schedule, which does not even start until August. So I dropped it back off, and tried to ask for help. No reply. Ever. So now, because I am stuck with only 3 classes this semester (3/4 time), Fin Aid Dept says I will not get my check until the middle of July. (That's Just a week or two before the end of my first semester. ) I an dead broke, with an angry landlady and an electric bill due, and no financial aid, while AMU sits on several thousand $$ of mine. I cry FOUL!!!
    Phillip Davis

  • Ju
      1st of Oct, 2012
    -4 Votes

    Although I realize some of these complaints are months old (even years), I think it is imperative I defend APUS. I have been a student there, received my Associates, and then transferred to a brick & mortar campus. Credits did, indeed, transfer but due to the price of the school, I withdrew and went back to APU to complete my Bachelors. Since December of 2009, I have yet to have any issues with APUS. Since they are regionally accredited, I have been able to find good jobs (going from $11/hr prior to degrees, now over $40k/year).

    If you review all of the websites that critique for-profit colleges, the overwhelming complaint (and it seems to be the only one) is the financial aid department. Again, I have been here since 2009 with student aid and not once have I experienced an issue with disbursements or grants. The problem is you have guys like Phillip Davis (above) who solely rely on that check to pay their bills and live their life. Did they not have this in gear when they took on the responsibility of school, not to mention tremendous debt? If you cannot afford the time and money to go to college, is it wise to enroll simply for the disbursement check? It is not the school's fault they are not sending yours immediately so you can pay your bills. Why do you not have a job lined up for that? This seems to be the common complaint is students do not receive their refund checks immediately, and good for APUS. They have mountains of students they surely have to send checks to, so it is not surprising it takes a while.

    This is supposed to be a school for working adults to offer flexibility to career-minded individuals looking to improve their lives, not an easy online college that has easy access to financial aid disbursement checks. The only problem I have with APUS is they need stricter entrance requirements so they can keep the riffraff students, such as Phillip Davis, out.

  • Dh
      9th of Dec, 2012
    +3 Votes

    Yes, there is something wrong with the Financial aid department at AMU. I was a student from 2006 - 2009, who was using TA and financial aid to attend school. I had problems getting the financial aid process, I opted for just using TA instead for classed before I deployed to Iraq for a year. Fast forward to Oct 2011after reviewing my Sallie Mae statements. I found out that the AMU processed the financial aid packaged back in 2007 even though I told them I was going to just use TA for my classes. The refund office told me a check was sent to me in December 2007 and March 2008. I told them I never received either of two checks, but they said both checks were cashed and cleared by the schools bank. I asked for a copy of the cleared checks and they stalled for over a month before they sent me anything. Then they said it was nothing further their bank could do because this happened a few years ago. I explained to them I have proof at the time the checks were mail and cash I was in the process of being deployed/deployed for a year, so there was no way I could of cashed the checks. One of the checks even has written on it that they are unable to verify my address in Iraq, but the check was somehow still cashed. I called the bank that processed the checks and it is a commercial bank located in Washington, D.C. The checks were cashed exactly 3 months apart on the same day (10 Jan and 10 Apr). That leave me to believe that whoever cashed these checks are officiated with the school.

  • Ap
      25th of Apr, 2013
    +1 Votes

    This is the worst choice that you could make. It is a diploma mill and nothing else. This school will let ANYONE in and I mean anyone.
    Funded primarily by WALMART as an excuse to "educate" their employees, this school is a disgrace. Lots of illegal things going on in the financial aid department, most professors are online graduates from terrible schools that are as bad as APU. Tech support is almost non existent and they do not care about students. Administration wants money and nothing else. This is a for profit school with a less than stellar accreditation. The degrees mean nothing. APU also has their own online mercenaries that will stop at nothing to censor the opinions of the school. Nazis.

  • Fo
      15th of Aug, 2013
    +1 Votes

    Jump ahead to 2013 and I am also, well, at least 100 people are having the same issue with AMU/APU and the holding of Financial aid. There excuse this time is a new system that has for months now required patch after patch and to this date has not been resolved. I dont know maybe it's just me but when running a buisness, and this school is a buisness, wouldn't you have made sure that the system was up and running or at the least if you had a problem oh let say back from May, you would make sure that you get someone in, tech savy that can get the disbursments out on time? Nope, not American Public University. They just ignore you for as long as they possibly can, letting phones go to answering machine due to "high call volume", not return messages, not return e-mails, give generic copy past answers and tell people that you have no idea when this will be fixed. You have gone way past the federal law time frame of 35-45 days, some as much as 160 days, and only if people complain or throw fits demanding updates do you put your Copy and Pasted message of having to add more software patches, be patient and we are very concerned about are students and are working 24/7 on this issue! Wow, this is totally unexceptable!

  • Ja
      17th of Aug, 2013
    +1 Votes

    This school took TA, Federal Aid, and Student loans from me, claims they refunded my student loans, which i just now got statements on almost 2 years later, and i am delinquent. Was to refund my TA to the government and never did, which im now paying back in my paychecks. And claims that my Fasfa aid never came in, but I infact got a pell grant and other aid for the year i was in school.. they always seemed to hold checks for extended periods of time. and claim that I got money when i never did.

  • La
      7th of Sep, 2013
    +1 Votes

    Seems like every one that is or was a student at Amu / APU have similar situations dealing with the Financial Aid I personally feel that they are scamming the students out of their funds and leaving the students stuck with the bill to be paid back.

  • Wb
      25th of Feb, 2014
    +1 Votes

    Bill Hester

    I am a new graduate student at APUS. My first semester there became a total wash because of poor advising and admissions counseling. I have spoken to or changed advisors 3 times and each one of them has told me different things concerning rules and regulations, totally contradicting one-another. The admissions reps are the worst. I was told I could change my program at any time and that my credits from one program would transfer to the other. In the beginning I had some reservations about which graduate program was right for me. Upon review of my background, bachelors degree accomplishments and awards, and educational goals. I was "guided" into the MA in History program...which by-the-way, was not the program that I initially wanted. I wanted to enroll in the MA in Humanities program. My admission rep assured me that if it wasn't a good fit. I could simply drop my classes and fill out a form on-line to change my program. Nothing could be further from the truth. I soon found out that I could not change my program, except for between certain dates and that if I did change programs, I would then have to complete a new credit evaluation and I would stand to lose 6 credit hours of transfer credit...which were already earned and transferred in to the university from day-1.

    When I registered my complaint, I was given the run-around and then a hold (R2T4)was put on my account, stopping me from doing anything where registration is concerned. APUS allows a student to enroll in classes for both semesters of the school year at one time. Meaning that if you are registered for at least half time, for both semesters. You are still an enrolled student at the university and that you are completely within the guidelines of Title IV financial aid. If you are a full time graduate student (6-hours per semester) and you fall below full or half time status in one semester, you are still pre-registered for the following semester. As long as you still earn 9 credit hours for both semesters, you should be in no jeopardy with Title IV.

    A students financial aid is awarded BY THE YEAR, not the semester. When a student fills out their FAFSA and is given an SAR (Student Aid Report), it plainly states the maximum amount that a student is eligible, that doesn't necessary mean that a student will receive the maximum amount. It is then the universities job to assess what the student will need and request that amount from the lender. It is then broken into two disbursements for each individual semester.

    This is where I have found APUS to be in the wrong with financial aid. Reviewing the amount awarded and subsequently borrowed, I found a huge discrepancy. I was awarded, loaned and accepted $7, 997.00 per, $15994.00 for the year (2 semesters). However, APUS only showed a total allowance of $12, 795.00. When I brought this to their attention. They quickly agreed that there was an accounting error, but they couldn't explain why, and subsequently needed to request a re-evaluation of my financial aid. That is a $3, 199.00 mistake or error. This all came to pass in late December, and by late January, they were just beginning to address the issue. Since I dropped my last class at the 50% refund drop date. They also owed me (or my lender) a refund of $479.00. Which they are also still holding onto. Making everything that they owe, a total of $3678.00, Not to mention the balance check for the upcoming semester, which should be somewhere in the neighborhood of $2696.00...Making the total that will be due 45 days after the beginning of the my next semester (March 3, 2014) $6374.00...WHEW...

    This is where APUS tries to get ugly. They place a hold on the students account and tell them that they must re-evaluate for a RETURN to Title IV loan amount, when they have NEVER since day-1, given the student the amount that they actually were awarded to begin with. Then, they tell the student that in order to release the hold they must sign a promissory note or a financial agreement to reimburse the university for the amount they have to return to the lender...but months go by and that amount is never disclosed to the student or to the lender. (I know because I called my lender). In addition, the form that is asked to be filled out to remove the hold is blank, and has no dollar amount on it. A student at APUS is at the mercy of their very long-and very -corrupt bureaucratic process.

    Now, I will admit some fault. I did knowingly drop below half time status for one semester, with the intention of picking up an additional class the next semester, (I have done this before and it was never a problem). However, I was advised to do this and due to APUS's, extremely constrictive degree programs. I had little choice. If I want to get the education that I (and Uncle Sam) are paying for. I had to drop the last class so that I could take a class that was actually beneficial to my education, instead of a class that was only serving as a tool to keep me out of a Title IV, hold situation...making students take classes that are not beneficial to their studies, or potential careers, is a very old ploy that universities in the United States have been using for decades to drive up tuition costs and academic requirements.

    In my opinion, it is in this way that not only APUS, but also THE FED are in direct violation of morality clauses for big businesses. In no way should a student be made to borrow money for school and then blocked or detoured from getting the education that they are paying for...when all the while the interest is accumulating.

    And don't expect to get any sympathy or answers from anyone at the NSLDS, the FED or at the university. They are for the most part...conspirators in the same crime.

    What we need to do as students and as Americans is to file a class action lawsuit with hundreds of thousands of names, of students who have been misled by universities, lenders and most importantly the government. We need an HONEST lawyer that would take the case on. We need a forensic accounting agency that is not biased towards the university and federal agendas, and we need a legitimate body that will oversee educational law and enforce it. Not allowing these degree-factories to pop-up...for the sake of capitalism.

    I am lodging a complaint against APUS with both the Virginia State Council (1-804-225-2600) and the West Virginia Educational Policy Board (1-304-558-2101). I would urge anyone reading this to do the same. While posting these complaints on-line may be somewhat fulfilling and are definitely helpful to others in the same situation. Nothing will come of it unless people begin to complain to the correct educational governing bodies.

    My name is William Hester.
    B.S. Anthropology w/ Honors Northern Kentucky University-2008
    M.Ed. Northcentral University-2010 (Not completed)
    M.A. History-Public History Concentration APUS-(Who knows when)

  • Tr
      7th of Apr, 2014
    +1 Votes

    I completely agree and have something similar to this happen to me at Apus.

  • Tr
      27th of Aug, 2014
    +1 Votes

    me too!!! I am also a former student and have been getting the run around on my SAP violation appeal. They refused to give me any type of information to a higher authority. I have 2 classes left and my completion has been held for going on a year and a half. No matter what I turn in...they deny my appeal within 24 hours the first time within an hour.
    I have been trying to get this violation appealed since July of 2012.
    I am about to call this number now!!

  • Ra
      8th of Sep, 2015
    +1 Votes

    Apparently hospital bills, ER transcripts, and doctors notes is not enough information to get a SAP Appeal. I have nothing else to show or give, now they want me to get a letter from a priest, employer, or therapist. My employer doesn't do that and I don't go to church or see a therapist. I have paid out of pocket for two classes and passed them both. I'm in good academic standing but I can't get this appeal approved for the life of me. I feel so defeated.

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