This letter is to inform the recipients about personal experiences with attending an accredited, online university.
I began attending University of Phoenix through Western International University (WIU) in April of 2005. My first session ended June 22 of 2005. The dissatisfaction with class instructors led me to enroll at American Intercontinental University (AIU) mid-August 2005. The first session at AIU ended mid-September 2005. My second session was to begin in a few short days, but there were issues that prevented me from continuing my education.
As of the time of writing this letter, I have received no grades or information from Western International University. I have received a letter stating that it "appears" that I have dropped out, and I am responsible for money as yet I am unaware, but no record of grades or credits. This has led to current problems with American Intercontinental University, of which I have other issues.
American Intercontinental University (AIU), blocked me from attending the second session of classes for the following reasons, as I understand them:
AIU needs official attendance dates from Western International University (WIU) to determine what money is available from FAFSA 2005-06. FAFSA money for WIU was for the year 2004-05. I am aware of this because I mistakenly filled out the form for 2005-06 when I enrolled for WIU, but because of the fiscal year, I was instructed to reapply with the correct year.
All I needed to do to attend AIU was correct the 2005-06 FAFSA information by deleting WIU and inform FAFSA of the change to AIU. The 2005-06 FAFSA was completed prematurely. Therefore, all money awarded from FAFSA for the school year 2005-06 should be available. I attended nowhere else during this time.
Money appears to be the concern for continuing at AIU. Because FAFSA money is in question with AIU, I have been instructed to increase my personal loans with Sallie Mae to cover the proposed $14,000 needed to complete an Associates degree, because "AIU is not a 'pay-as-you-go'" university. The answer to this is two-fold. It is assumed that $14,000 is needed to complete an Associates degree, yet I have 12 credits from WIU, and between 3-6 credits at other colleges and universities.
Therefore, the amount of $8,000 I currently have with Sallie Mae should be nearly if not enough to get my degree with AIU. My academic advisor was aware of my desire to CLEP some classes and my job includes seminars with college credits earned. To increase my personal loan amount "until this gets cleared up" as one financial advisor so stated, is not in my best interest as the cooperation from neither university conveys much trust.
Second, since when are universities not taking students using known funds? I know I have been approved for the $8,000 with Sallie Mae, yet AIU will not use this money first in the hope that someone with WIU will eventually reply to our requests for transcripts and any documentation. I should never have begun classes if AIU was not sure of my eligibility. A later start date could have been assigned.
I need to be enrolled in school to remain at my current job. My ability to support my family is in jeopardy due to these concerns.
One of the issues I have with AIU I feel is also responsible for my current situation. I have a list of AIU personnel that have come and gone in the brief time of attending AIU. I have replied to requests as they have been asked, yet I find myself repeating information, re-sending information, and generally been given the run-around. Below are some examples of recent incidences:
I was blocked out of my classes the end of the fourth week during a five week session. The reason; it was said that I was delinquent in sending an "Independent Financial Document" and had not completed my Sallie Mae loan. I had completed the independent document through the AIU website twice, and the third time an email with the form was sent.
I sent (faxed) this to the financial department, and my current academic advisor the same day as received. The Sallie Mae loan had been pre-approved but was waiting for the SCHOOL to send accreditation information. Neither was due to my negligence. If I had not sent my assignments in early, they would have been marked down for being late, per school policy.
Upon beginning classes, I would check my financial requirements and attempt to comply when it directly involved what I could supply. Several times the request for documents was EMPTY, implying everything was in or in and being reviewed. I work full-time and am the single mother of four. Documents were questioned throughout my enrollment.
I would supply further data, yet between being misplaced or yet still questioned, I was made to spend countless hours repeating and following previous data with more data. The stress imposed upon me when I am nearly overwhelmed as it is, became too much recently.
AIU found that I could not begin the next session October 9, 2005, with these issues being unresolved, and I withdrew from AIU to pursue attending my local college. The ease with which attending adult online education for career people I find to be a misnomer. I withdrew only to keep from being charged for classes AIU was blocking me from attending.
I need to be a full-time student, and I fully expected this to be resolved, or my attempt to enroll at Yavapai College not hindered. This was not the case.
On February 17, 2006, I received an email from Julie Waters. She stated that she had also attended AIU, and through an accident committed with the new re-entry advisor Teri Cahill of AIU, she had obtained my email address and of other students who had left AIU.
On February 14, 2006, I did receive an email asking if my dropping out of AIU was only temporary. (Yet they dropped me.)Teri Cahill made the unfortunate mistake of listing all recipients instead of hiding them through the BC option on her email. We now have a vast array of former students who had left AIU for various reasons.
I now have other serious problems with AIU since I had first contacted several agencies in Arizona, my home state, and with the accreditation board for AIU. These are:
Since my withdrawal from AIU, I had been assured that all paperwork, grades, and credits would be sent so that my immediate transfer to my local college would not be hindered. Instead, several weeks passed and I received a bill for $2,400 for the six credits I did take.
I had been approved for a student loan with Sallie Mae for the sum of $8,000. (When I transferred from WIU to AIU, WIU sent the unused funds back to the loan institution, so I am now paying my student loan for classes I completed at WIU.) This should have occurred with AIU.
I was told repeatedly that when I transferred to AIU, my student loans would be consolidated, so that while I was still attending college, they would not be due. Because of AIU's negligence, I am now paying off my loan, am NOT able to attend other universities at this time because AIU will not release any transcripts until I pay off the $2,400. What AIU should have done, is return the unused portion of the student loan, I could have consolidated both loans, and applied for funds to CONTINUE my education.
My current job is in SERIOUS jeopardy at this time. I MUST enroll in a school as soon as possible.
AIU continues to cause me financial harm, as well as my future ability to support my family. Promises of assistance never came. The unbelievable turnover of staff is nearly impossible to work with and get resolutions. The meanness of returning allowable funds to keep my transcripts is unacceptable.
I ask for assistance once again. Many adults are apprehensive to return to college after many years of absence. I was one of those in fear. Yet, despite earning good grades and countless hours of hard work, it appears to be all for naught. I have nothing except debt to show. Please, I ask that some action can be taken to remedy the situation many of appear to be. Please restore my faith in higher learning.