University Alliance / Watch List
I am not sure how University Alliance fits in with Florida Institute of Technology. As a returning student, I looked at a number of schools and many of them had SCAM written all over them. That's why I started to look for a brick/mortar school that had a distance learning option.
When I first entered into conversation in August 2008, I calculated the costs of tuition and books based upon the initial conversation and determined there was a out of pocket expense of $5, 000. I told them I couldn't afford the out of pocket expense and I was looking at scholarship opportunities.
Well, this is when it got confusing because they offered a $6, 000 Microsoft scholarship and when I asked for the information in my email or by snail mail, they refused to send it. So, I wouldn't apply or make a student/institution contract to financially burden myself.
Then I started getting emails asking me to complete registration etc. and as courtesy I call back and speak at length to the advisement counsleor. I a, able to confirm through the Federal Stafford program that I would be awarded an additional $2, 000 leaving the out of pocket $3, 000.
I explain I am waiting for some expected money with back pay and a title change, but the employer was dragging their heels and there was little I could do to expedite because it is all contractually based and I want to wait and see what disposable income I have as a result of my raise/title change before I make a financial obligation.
That's when things got weird. I was told the only cost for a college education was $75 for an application fee. NO OTHER out of pocket COST was associated with getting the degree. Now, I don't know about you, but this sounds really fishy.
They then state I am eligble for a grant, but when I researched the grant eligibility requirements, you have to be a Florida resident to get that money. I am not eligible.
So back to coming up with the $300 - $400 out of pocket expenses monthly.
I sent emails asking about various scholarship/grant programs I learned about from a book on funding an education including Grants for Undergraduates and gratue students who have trouble paying tuition ( Robert E. McNair award 84.217) and the Money for Students Interested in a Career with Public Service (harry S. Truman Scholarship program 85.001). Being I work in public service with limited financial resources, these seemed to be logical and viable options.
The scholarship programs directed me back to the school for applications and University Alliance disregarded the request.
Because I can't afford the tuition and the alternatives I found were not viable for the program, I told them I was putting things on hold until I could pick up some extra work to defray the out of pocket costs.
So about 6 weeks later I get another email claiming they want to "survey" me on my experience. I pretty much outlined my satisfaction with the degree plan but that I didn't register at the time because it was cost prohibitive and the lack of information provided in writing gave me significant concern. I told them the truth, I am divorced - lost 75% of my standard of living about 5 years ago, I am over age 40 and feel I have the dedication and drive to succeed as illustrated throughout my life, but I am financially strapped and if I were to enter into a financial obligation I could not afford to pay, I could potentially lose my job if it were to adversely affect my credit reports.
That's when I get questioned abotu my "idea" of the out of pocket costs. I copy and pasted the earlier breakdown of tuition, books, and fees. This person not realizing what I had done, tells me she can't figure out my system of accounting.
RED FLAG - She is unaware of their own system of accounting that they sent me?
So anyhow, then this woman wants me to enter into a student/institution contract - back to this $75 and assures me there is yet ANOTHER grant that will pay 100% of the out of pocket costs except for the first class but she will defer the payment to November 28. But it is unclear what this dollar amount is and I told her I had some unforseen expenses that had me strapped for the moment and that with the economy, even my freelance work outside my regular job has been far and few between.
Then I get another email stating they will waive the $75 to get me to sign the contract. But still they won't tell me what my total financial obligation will be.
So I ask for a clarification again for the amount that would become due Nov 28 and a confirmation that I was to be awarded that $3, 000 in writing.
That initiates another phone call with a complete ### who wasted my time. This guy is the reason I am writing this. First he said how highly he tought of me and I thanked him for his compliment. I told him point blank, I was looking for disclosures in writing to confirm the amounts above Federal aid they keep guaranteeing by phone and a total estimate of costs that would be due November 28 if I were to register that day.
He kept saying I didn't need it in writing because he was waiving all the fees and it would be FREE. I am obviously not serious about my education and I am happy at my McJob making substandard wages (shows how much he does know about my career) and that I always have an excuse.
I got angry, told him I was passing because they can't put it in writing. I am thinking this school is just another scam because of their pesistence, the way they became verbally abusive when I asked for the finacial obligations in writing and the fact that each time I talk to them they provide different figures.