One Student’s Account:

“In 2009, the U.S. Department of Education provided a preliminary report to the university that cited untimely return of unearned Title IV funds for more than 10 percent of sampled students. The report also expressed a concern that some students enroll and begin attending classes before completely understanding the implications of enrollment, including their eligibility for student financial aid. As a result, in January 2010, its parent company, Apollo Group Inc., was required to post a letter of credit for $125 million by January 30 of the same year” –BusinessWeek

Subject: University of Phoenix Business Practices

I enrolled in the University of Phoenix in November of 2009 in its Doctor of Management in Organizational Leadership program. At the time, the intake counselor (let’s call him salesman) advised me that the program entailed residencies that were held at various points around the United States. Additionally, he stated that if I could not make one then I could schedule an alternate residency. I explained to him that this was important as I travel internationally quite often and, of course, this would be a logistical problem. Again, this was BEFORE I agreed to register in the program. I completed several courses in the program and my residency was coming up for March of 2010 and informed the salesman that I would need to reschedule my residency as I would be overseas at that time.

Suddenly, rescheduling the residency was a problem. Several parties told me that I could not do it. Finally, when I threatened to quit the program they said I could do it. This was after being brow-beaten by my academic and financial aid counselors on a conference call wanting to know why I could not cancel my travel plans and attend the original residency. At any rate, they finally said I could reschedule but that I would need to WITHDRAW from school and start up again with my regular schedule after the residency.

Let me re-emphasize that rather than simply letting me take another course on the curriculum which, I might add, not every course is a pre-requisite for the next, contrary to what these sales people say, they told me that I would need to withdraw. Any other graduate school worth the appellation would have just let me take another graduate level course however the University of Phoenix forced me to withdraw. The school was stating that I would need to withdraw (fall out of compliance with financial requirements regarding full-time attendance) because the school would not allow me to take another doctoral course instead.

Rather than go through this ordeal every time I might need to reschedule a residency I chose to withdraw. Thus, since the University of Phoenix was forced to return some of the financial aid monies that it received from the government it is now stating that I owe tuition for a course which was supposed to have been paid for and for which this entire ordeal started because the salesman told me that I could reschedule residencies “no problem.” Of course, he disputes this now as one would expect but I can tell you that this institution is driven purely by the amount of churn it can generate through billing the federal government for federal financial aid funds. The actual treatment and outcome of the students is purely secondary which is why the graduation rates are so pathetic.

While I am certain the University of Phoenix might be able to rationalize its billing me for $2,301 in tuition in spite of it being the reason I withdrew, I am just as certain that there are inconsistencies in its accounting of my financial aid application, dispensation, and adjudication through this process. Please look into this particular case and add my official complaint of this University’s practices to the long list I am sure that you have already compiled.

My chief complaints are the following:

The school required me to withdraw to change my residency date

The school “auto-withdrew” me from a course-whatever that is but I question the methodology because the school uses something it calls the “Course Exit Tracking Checklists” to determine attendance or withdrawal apparently which I neither signed, approved, or was made aware of in advance

The salesman than enrolled me in the program ensured me that I could change my residency dates yet never mentioned that I would need to withdraw in order to do so

These and other issues are why the University of Phoenix Sucks.

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