The complaint has been investigated and
resolved to the customer's satisfactionResolved Devry University Pomona, CA — unethical, deceptive costly tactics
resolved to the customer's satisfaction
Statement of facts:
On or about june, 2005, my student, upon high school graduation was presented with a meager ($100.00) scholarship from the business department to attend devry university, pomona, california site.
Upon being tested and accepted to the university, we attended an open house, at which time, I believe, we completed the application process. All applicants were directed to the financial office where each family met with a financial counselor. It was at this time that we met with a financial counselor that I was advised that no student could attend this university without signing a federal student loan application. I informed my student and the counselor that I could not do that, as there was no way I could afford a loan. Our family was embroiled in a vicious domestic-violence divorce /child custody proceeding at the time and we were struggling to find a place to live at the time. It was my greatest desire for my son to attend the school of his choice for higher learning, and upon hearing this news we were both very concerned and upset.
The counselor then informed me that, while all students (Or their parents) were required to sign this loan application, that “no action would be taken unless it became necessary for tuition purposes” and that I would be “contacted for a meeting with the financial aid department before any loan application would be submitted.” the counselor also told me that this would not be a loan that I would ever have to pay back, so my concerns regarding a loan payback commitment were unfounded and if I did not sign the form, my son would not be permitted to attend devry university.
At this time, note that all of my children and myself were under the care of psychologists for domestic violence issues, and i, personally, was taking medication under the care of a psychiatrist for depression and post-traumatic stress syndrome. I was in no condition to enter into such a legal and binding contract, and only signed the loan document under extreme duress, under the pretense that it would not be submitted to any loan, bank, or financial agency of any kind, without first being notified for my personal authorization. This document was signed under great emotional duress.
During the course of my son’s attendance at devry, we moved several times as our lives had been threatened and I separated from my employment, as my former spouse was also employed by the same agency and in the same vicinity and my vehicle was being sabotaged in addition to the fact that I was receiving death threats.
As far as I can recall, I paid for my student’s supplies out of my personal bank account. My son was promised a personal lap-top computer as part of a normal process in attending devry (I did not own a computer at the time and it would have been necessary for my student to have one to complete his school work). My son informed me that after several weeks and conferring with other students, some who were in their 3rd and 4th years at the university, everyone was promised one, but no one he came into contact with had ever received one.
With our personal dilemma of homelessness, my son decided not to continue attending devry as it was very stressful to find and pay for transportation and school supplies while we were struggling to meet basic standard needs such as daily food and shelter. It was also very difficult to complete homework assignments, as he would have to go to someone else’s house to use their computer.
At some point after this, our financial circumstances forced me into bankruptcy. While in the bankruptcy process, I received a few letters from various agencies offering to take on my “student loan” at a discounted rate. I was also receiving various offers from the same types of companies, offering car loans and various other financial assistance. I attributed them to the bankruptcy filing and disregarded them, as I knew I did not have a student loan or a car loan and I knew very well that I could not, in good conscience, take
Out any type of loan knowing that I had no means with which to make any type of re-payment. I could not even pay my attorney, so he was taking all of my child support payments and I was not receiving any assistance of any kind.
A few years back, I received notice of a federal student loan default, which was very confusing to me. I contacted the company and they informed me that the loan was for my son’s attendance at devry university in pomona. I immediately contacted devry university.
Devry university refused to speak with me because my son was now an adult. I indicated that this was regarding a financial matter, and since he was a minor when he enrolled, and I was the person financially responsible for his attendance there, that I should be entitled to his financial records. Employees in the finance department at devry advised me to call back after a certain time, which I did. When I did call back, I was informed that no one could assist me in obtaining any financial accounting of my son’s records. I asked when a manager was going to be available and again, they told me to call back later, any future calls I made that day were immediately disconnected when I told them who I was and that I was still trying to find a financial accounting of my son’s records.
Following our phone call fiasco, it became clear to me that a personal appearance was necessary. My son and I went to devry’s financial office early the next morning. There were only two students (One male, one female) visible working in the office when we arrived, and I advised the young female of my situation, which was:
1) I was advised by devry’s financial counselor that no loan document would be processed without first consulting with me and obtaining my permission to submit the loan application to a financial agency;
2) I had paid for items with personal checks;
3) my student was promised, among other things, a personal lap-top computer;
4) unbeknownst to me, the loan application had been processed without me being contacted and without my permission;
5) the loan was now in default and I needed a financial accounting of how much money was attributed to my student during his attendance at devry, were we charged for a personal lap top computer, and if so, who received the computer and who received the benefits of monies sent to the school for my son.
The girl became very concerned and walked through a door into the back portion of the office, where I overheard muffled conversation between her and an obviously older male. She returned to the counter and stated that she could not release the information to me because of student privacy issues. I informed her that my student was there, ready to give his permission for me to obtain copies of all of his academic records from devry, including, and especially, his financial records. Once again, she retreated to the back office and I could hear an agitated older male voice giving her instruction. She came back to the counter and informed us that only she and another student were in the office at the time and the department manager was not going to return to the office for another half hour or so and that I should leave and come back later in the afternoon. I advised the girl that we had driven quite a way to come to resolve the matter and we would be happy to wait.
After approximately fifteen minutes, an older male came out of the back office, looked at us, and called the girl into his office. She again came out and said it would be best if we left our phone number and we would receive a phone call when someone could assist us. I informed her that the previous day I had made several phone calls requesting the information and after being hung up on several times, there was no other way to resolve this issue other than in person. She returned to the office, had another muted conversation, and returned to the counter area of the office, where she ignored us.
From that point on, we had waited for an additional 47 minutes when the man called the girl back into his office. She came out with keys and a large male student (Not the older man who had been speaking to her) and informed us that there had been an emergency and their office needed to close immediately. (Please note it had been very quiet in the office the entire time we were there and no other people had come into the office.) it was early afternoon (About 2:00pm) by this time. I told them I would be happy to wait, but was informed I would absolutely have to leave their office. I did not want to make a scene (I was not being disrespectful, I was only seeking records that were rightfully ours – we were both in a very depressed state and were not capable of “fighting, ” arguing, or becoming violent). My son and I waited outside the door of the financial office for another two hours or so until a security guard came to lock doors because classes were out for the day and all offices were closing (It was about 4:30 when we had to leave because the building was being locked up).
My emotional state at that point (Combined with the personal homeless/basic needs issues) was one of despair and great disappointment in the university, which had been portrayed as such an upstanding establishment. I left empty handed, and reported back to the financial agency that devry was unable to confirm that my student had ever received any financial assistance and as I was unaware the loan had been processed and with my present hardships, I was not able to assist them. I did not have the means to do so, but neither did I have proof that my student ever benefitted from the alleged loan.
In 2008, I received another notice and my son was on the phone with me while we talked to a female manager in the finance department. After three phone conversations with her, she relented and stated she would release my son’s records if he signed a release form. Of course, he consented, and she faxed the form, my student filled it out and returned it. We called her to confirm receipt, and she assured us she had received it and that she would fax the documents to us that afternoon. We never heard from them again and I did not have the emotional or physical wherewithal to continue requesting information from an agency which absolutely did not, for some reason, want us to see my son’s financial records.
I have not had any type of “normal” job where I received any type of “steady” paycheck since 2005, until I was offered my previous position and hired in december 2011. Now that I have been hired, I am getting harassed by phone calls from progressive financial services for my “defaulted” student loan, that no one can prove to me was ever utilized to benefit my student. As far as I know, devry took it upon themselves to submit the loan application without my permission and utilized the funds inappropriately. No one has yet disclosed to me the amount that was submitted to devry, where it was applied, or who benefited from it; and, since devry still refuses to release any records of any kind to me or to my student, I must question the validity of this loan.
Therefore, I respectfully state that:
Inasmuch as I was forced to sign the document under great emotional duress and threat by devry’s financial counselor that my student would not be permitted to attend without this document being signed as a “security” only; and,
Inasmuch as I pleaded with devry’s financial counselor that I could not sign this form as I had no means of repayment; and,
Inasmuch as I was emotionally incapacitated and under the care of mental health professionals at the time; and,
Inasmuch as devry’s financial counselor assured me this document would not be submitted to any loan, bank, or financial agency without first consulting with me and obtaining my authorization and permission; and,
Inasmuch as devry’s financial counselor assured me this document was only to assure my student enrollment at devry and it was not a loan I would ever have to repay; and
Inasmuch as under the circumstances, benefits of this loan were obtained by devry under false pretenses as stated above; and,
Inasmuch as devry refuses to provide or permit access to any financial records pertaining to this loan, or an accounting thereof,
I hereby contest the fact that I am being required to pay any amount as a repayment of, or payment to retrieve, the loan from default status.
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