As of today, June 30, 2009, there have been numerous high profile cases of fraud, scams, money laundering, embezzlement, and downright heinous acts against the innocent consumer. From Enron to Stanford Financial, there are millions of criminals and corporations that partake in damaging thousands of lives for profit and only a select few actually get caught. It takes a lot of people and a lot of action to bring these evil doers to justice and everyone should really evaluate if they too have become a victim of such crimes. Where there is smoke there is fire, if you think for one second that something isn't right then follow your instincts. I thought my situation with AIU was bigger than me and that I somehow just screwed up in not reading the fine print, I believed AIU and was going to just roll over and accept their allegations that I had defaulted on my financial responsibilities. That was until I did research and found that hundreds of other students were going through the exact same thing. I had many sleepless nights trying to figure this out and countless more just knowing that I wasn't the only victim.
I enrolled at AIU to earn a BIT in 2007 and completed the program in 2008. A coworker of mine had just graduated from the college and he highly recommended the school as a great option while working full time. I looked into it and bought into their advertisements of an affordable and easy way to earn a degree online. When looking over my degree plan and the website, my tuition was posted in black and white to cost $22,500 plus a $50 application fee. My parents and I felt it was a reasonable investment so we took out money from various savings accounts and agreed to Cash Payment Installments. We denied any financial aid and repeatedly said that we did not want to take out any loans for tuition. It was still a part of their policy that I had to complete the FAFSA paperwork in order to access my classes so I did for the academic years I was enrolled but I never accepted any loans, signed for any loans, received any checks in the mail for a loan or authorized disbursement of a loan. My parents and I made all our payments on time and on schedule according to the student online statement. We even received statements that verified Balance Paid in Full. $23,000 in cash later I completed the degree program and was awarded my BIT.
6 months after my graduation I started to receive numerous letters in the mail from 4 different financial institutions: Sallie Mae, Wells Fargo, Wachovia, Dept of Education: all stating that my grace period was over and that I needed to start paying off my loans. The total amount that I owed lenders for student loans equaled $25,000!!! I called the lenders and told them it must be some bogus mistake because I had paid cash for my tuition and could prove it. I further explained that I never applied or accepted any loans. Their answer was that AIU applied for these loans and accepted them on my behalf. Could they do this I thought? Isn't that illegal? Sure enough I called AIU and they confirmed that they reserve the right to do exactly this. I asked them for details on what the money went to and why wasn't I informed. To date I have received very little information from AIU regarding these hidden fees and extra costs, answers like tuition prices can and will go up or one of your courses was $5,000 because it wasn't listed on the curriculum. My family and I truly feel we were robbed of the cash we spent at AIU and are now being sued for 25K plus interest on terms none of us ever saw or agreed to. How did this degree plan double in cost over one year? No one will give us answers. We want to fight this but we have no idea where to begin. AIU has done nothing about this and I'm now delinquent with various lenders because I refuse to pay for something that I have already paid for out of pocket. One loan has to be paid off in 2 years and ith payments are $199 a month. I simply cannot afford to give AIU another $25,000. AIU has caused a lot of financial and emotional damage to me and my family. AIU is a scam and the truth should be known.