The complaint has been investigated and
resolved to the customer's satisfactionResolved Heald College Roseville Campus — Misleading and hard sales tactics/financial aid scam!
resolved to the customer's satisfaction
I went to Heald College in April of 2008 because they were offering degree’s in Sales and Marketing. I was told by Cherie Tullis when I went to register that the Roseville campus did not offer that major, but I would be allowed to transfer to the Rancho Cordova campus in my last quarter to finish my degree emphasis. I was also told by Cherie Tullis it would be in my best interest to leave American River Community College in the middle of the semester because the classes I was taking would not be transferable. She also led me to believe I would be receiving an AA and told me the benefit to Heald was lifetime job placement. She said they had many business connections and over 90% of the graduates were placed into jobs. I decided to do what the enrollment counselor suggested because I did not want to waste time in classes I did not need. I was approved for financial aid and was told that I had all of my finances in order to complete my degree. I knew the cost was excessive but I justified it because I was promised lifetime job placement.
I went every quarter in person and met with the Director of Business (I believe his name was Doug Harvey) to help pick the classes I needed for my degree. I was told I could take the classes for my emphasis online, in addition to my core classes, instead of attending the Rancho Cordova campus. I took numerous classes for my emphasis online, and paid an additional $175 dollar enrollment for each online class. The director of my program (whom I met with every quarter to make sure my classes were on track) was fired abruptly without any explanation. After Doug was fired I went into make sure I was still on track and found out from the new director of business, just before my last quarter, that if I wanted my emphasis I would have to attend an additional quarter in order to complete it. I was livid considering the fact that I was in the registration office EVERY single quarter with the director of my program to get the classes I needed for a degree in Sales and Marketing.
When I spoke with the staff at the school to tell them what had happened I was told there was no one to blame but me for the mess up in my program. The school gave absolutely no explanation to me nor the MANY students who fell victim to this program director’s lack of competency. Most ended up with seriously messed up academic plans which would cost thousands of dollars to fix; for instance, staying for an extra quarter to get their emphasis. I also found out that I was receiving an A.A.S. and not an AA; and, if I wanted the AA it would cost me another 10 thousand dollars to do so! I had never even heard of an AAS until this conversation. Not to mention I retook numerous classes that I had transferred from other schools, and the classes I was told by Cherie Tullis would not transfer from ARC absolutely would have!
Furthermore, I was called in halfway through my program to fill out my second financial aid. I was very upset because I was led to believe in my orientation interview that I had already been awarded all I needed to graduate. I was told at that time I needed another four thousand dollars to complete the program I was already half way completed with. I then filled out the second financial aid and on 01/02/08 I was told that I had received the rest of my financial aid to finish. I even went back into financial aid that April to defer my existing loans and I was told once again I had enough money financed to finish my degree.
When I went to get my graduation checklist signed off, a week before I was supposed to graduate, I found out once again the tuition was raised, but I also owed another 4, 500 dollars! I was told I had to take out a private loan from the school in order to graduate that week! When I refused I was told I would absolutely not be able to graduate and I would still owe the money. I was also told that if I refused I would not be allowed back on campus to finish the quarter! From the research I have done schools are required to have forthcoming financial practices and obviously this was not the case here. I do not understand why was I not told at the beginning of the quarter and given the choice then, not after services have already been “rendered”(according to Heald faculty). So finally I graduated with a degree with no emphasis, and I am in 16 thousand dollar debt for an Applied Associates in Science which has helped me not at all in the business world. The Sales and Marketing degree was the only reason I went to Heald in the first place! I also found out that not only did I have to pay for my cap and gown I also had to pay a 75 dollar graduation fee whether or not I decided to attend! I chose not to attend my graduation because what was supposed to be a happy time turned into a period of grieving for having fallen victim to unethical and poor financial practices.
Now let’s talk about career services. This was another reason I was interested in coming to Heald because they promised lifetime career placement for graduates. In my exit interview with this department I told them I might go to a few staffing companies and I was told it would be in my best interest to use the schools business connections first. The school has sent me numerous emails with business leads that they so graciously cut and paste from that seedy site called Craigslist.com. I did find two of the leads to be promising, but one I never heard back from and the other I called the school to follow up on and they had no idea what company I was talking about; even though, it was the director who sent me the lead! At first I applied to every lead they sent me until the director of career services sent me a few clerical leads from Craigslist that turned out to be Nigerian scams!
Now my computer has been hacked twice because of these “job leads” and I had to shut down my email account because my email was sending viruses to every personal and professional contact I had in my email contact list! Another slap in the face from career service is that ALL of the job leads they sent me only required a High School diploma or GED. Certainly these are jobs that would have been available to me without wasting five figures and a year and a half of time! Also, the only job lead they sent me that actually called me back was for a staffing agency, the same type of organization I was told to use as a last resort! I am dumbfounded that a career services department would use an agency instead of building solid business connections of their own! I even called them back a year after graduation and was denied any help at all. I was told by Ms.Buckwalter that the job leads were meant for recent graduates only.
As far as the extra $4, 500 loan I was forced to take out the week of my graduation, I discovered that I received a$4, 310 Pell grant from the NSDLS website (Print out included). I went through all of my financial paperwork from Heald to discover that the Pell grant was never credited towards my tuition. They were supposed to receive four installments over a year period. They received the first, but failed to go back and request the other three installments. I have two and a half years of emails back and forth with Kaia Rhodes and Johanna Falenofoa from the school where they are stating they only received 1, 200 of the $4, 310 I was approved for, even though the government site clearly shows they were dispersed $4, 310. I have stopped paying on that loan and have tried to dispute it numerous times because it is clear their financial aid department did not follow through and request the subsequent disbursements for my Pell.
I have called the government numerous times to be told I can only deal with the Pell issue directly with the school. I have sent them copies I pulled off of the government website that shows they received the full Pell, but for some reason they are giving no explanation as to why they never requested the disbursements for the rest of the year. I did have to take a leave of absence from school for one quarter in 2009 because of a family issue. I met with Cherie Tullis and she helped me get the paperwork to do a leave of absence that quarter and she was also the one who reenrolled me in January of 2009. The school at one point claimed I completely withdrew from school and that is why I did not receive the full Pell, however, I was only gone a single quarter and came back and finished a 6 quarter program in 5. Furthermore, they should have received all of my Pell dispesments before the quarter I took a leave of absence. The quarter I took off was not even in the same grant year as the year I received the Pell.
Every quarter I attended I took over a full time schedule and at one point I was even taking 24 units at a time. When I met with Cherie she never mentioned any implications for taking a quarter off and never informed me that I even needed to discuss the decision with financial aid. The only reason I can foresee the full Pell not being awarded would be that financial aid never went back and updated my enrollment status for continuing the Grant. Regardless, I attached the print out from NSDLS that clearly shows Heald received a $4, 310 award and this print out was from 2010 well after I graduated.
Last week was the first time I received a letter regarding this loan. The letter was dated in the heading of July 20th and I had 30 days to respond; however, it was post marked Aug 2nd. I called to let them know I was actively disputing the loan and they told me they were not collecting on a loan they were collecting on an outstanding balance of $4, 500! I emailed the woman I have been disputing the loan with to find out if this was in excess to the loan, but somehow the defaulted loan has magically turned into an outstanding balance and the loan no longer exists! The customer service representative from the number I called on the letter has told me on 8/6/12 and 8/13/12 that they are unable to dispute the loan, even though it was my first communication with them.
Furthermore, I signed a document in my exit interview stating my loans totaled to just under $16, 000. I was also told in my exit interview that we were officially acknowledging our outstanding student loans and that would be all we were required to payback. Once I started receiving statements to repay the loans I realized it was closer to $22, 000! When I asked the school they claimed they did not know what I was talking about even though I had the paper from my exit interview in hand. They also told me it does not matter what I signed upon graduation it only matters who’s coming after me to get repaid! I have had a total of 15 separate loans taken out on my behalf and was not aware of how many until six months after my graduation. Finally, the government bought all of my loans (including my private loans from Citi bank and Wells Fargo) totaling to about $17, 000.00. I am still current with that debt and am not disputing those costs what so ever. The only amount I am disputing is the $4, 500.00 I was not aware of until my last week of school. I had no idea I even received a Pell Grant until I went back to figure out the financial mess I was left with after my graduation!
With the 4, 310 dollar Pell Grant I received I would have had no out of pocket cost for my actual AA, AND I would have plenty of money to spare if I had continued at ARC. I am seeking the claimed outstanding debt be cleared due to the fact that I was not told about this debt until a few days before my graduation. If I was told in January of 2009 or in April of 2009 I would have refused it and used my right to transfer schools. I would never have agreed to an additional $4, 500 loan in April of 2009 because I was already receiving repayment notices for about $16, 000. The minimum payments at that time were over four hundred dollars a month and I could not afford them; hence the reason I went into financial aid in April of 2009 to defer my loans. In my entrance interview I showed the school my taxes and they were aware I was only taking home $16, 000 a year and how they expected me to pay back 15 separate different loans is a mystery to me. I have yet to find a job utilizing this degree and my current University was only able to transfer a hand full of the classes I took at Heald because they view them as inadequate. Before I went to Heald I had impeccable credit and now my debt to income ratio due to these excessive student loans has tarnished my credit and almost made me incapable of purchasing a home.
I have been actively disputing this $4, 500 since 2009 and it was not until I notified the school I was interested in seeking legal counsel( because they were not helping me resolve this issue) that my concerns were brought to the attention of Guy Adams; and, 8/21/12 was the first time I was told about a grievance process. I told him I wanted to file a grievance and never heard back from him so now I am filing a complaint with you in hopes of clearing my name of this debt I obviously do not owe. I have all of the emails regarding this dispute available and I also included a document they gave me in my enrollment stating the average Heald student had $10, 000 in debt and $100 a month payments. I find this incredibly misleading because based on the student I went to school with none of them were able to put down $20, 000 in cash in order to only have $10, 000 in loans. This is more proof of the misleading enrollment practices by Heald College. I am also including three separate official award letters stating I was approved $27, 695 in loans from the Federal Government (Not including Pell). Those loands were for six terms, however, I completed my program in five. This proves I would never have needed a private loan from Heald.
I did this entire dispute process by email only due to the fact I have been misled so many times by Heald staff and the fact the school has continually said one thing and done another. I have been egregiously misled by Heald staff and have nothing to show for it but a useless degree and thousands and thousands of dollars in student debt. I trusted this school and I have been left in financial ruin.
If you have fell victim to this school you are not alone and you have options! File complaints with the BBB, FTC, and ACCJC who holds their accrediation. They have an A+ rating because no one is complang to the right people! Please join the fight and stop these scammers!