ED Magedson – Founder
Asgford University400 North Bluff Boulevard Clinton, Iowa United States of America
Since before August 28, 2008, shortly after I enrolled at Ashford and the first date I memorialized my status request in writing as is evidenced by an attached email , I have been inquiring as to the status with Ashford University as to the financial aid I was told verbally that I qualified for. Since that time, I have received nothing but Pending Review until I received a collection notice in the mail from Williams & Fudge for $3,920.00 collecting on behalf of Ashford University Online.
For your records and review, I have attached copies of almost all electronic mail that went back and forth between myself and representatives of not only Ashford, but Williams & Fudge, the three major credit bureaus, and most recently, the Ombudsman at Ashford, then Bridgepoint, and only to be told by the Ombudsman that they were closing their file due to lack of information. [continued below]....
The fact is , one of the reasons I attended Ashford University Online (for the short time period) was that I was told I qualified for financial aid and wouldnt have any out of pocket expenses as during the enrollment process, one of their questions to me was whether or not I had filed a FAFSA to which my response was in the affirmative as I had been looking into going back to school for some time. The admissions representative asked if I would authorize Ashford to obtain my FAFSA and I did everything requested of me by inputting on the FAFSA that Ashford was the university I wanted my FAFSA information transmitted. Upon her review of the information, I was informed that I qualified for a full Pell Grant of $4500.00 and if I completed my course of education, I would stretch it out over two separate school years and hence would receive $9,000 in Pell Grant money and the rest would be financed through a Federally Guaranteed Student Loan. It was requested that I fill out one specific Financial Aid documents, aside from filling out the financial aid information requested online during the enrollment process, AND take an entrance and exit quiz online with regard to the student loan. I submitted all of the information that was requested of me, and timely.
ON AUGUST 28, 2008, I SENT A MESSAGE TO ASHFORD STATING THAT WHILE ONLINE IN MY ACCOUNT AT ASHFORD UNIVERSITY ONLINE, I NOTICED THAT THERE WAS A BALANCE DUE AND SENT AN INQUIRY AS TO WHY THERE WAS A BALANCE DUE IF I WAS TOLD THAT I WOULD BE RECEIVING FINANCIAL AID. MY RESPONSE WAS AN EMAIL STATING THAT IN ORDER FOR ASHFORD TO PROCESS MY FINANCIAL AID PAPERWORK, SINCE I HAD BEEN RANDOMLY SELECTED, I NEEDED TO FILL OUT A 2008-2009 FAFSA VERIFICATION AND PROVIDE A COPY OF MY 2007 TAX RETURN. ON SEPTEMBER 13, 2008, I SENT THE REQUESTED INFORMATION TO ASHFORD, A COPY OF WHICH EMAIL MESSAGE AND CORRESPONDING DOCUMENTS ARE ATTACHED HERETO.
My complaints are the following:
(1) With a documented paper trail in my possession, and the fact that I provided all of it to your Ombudsman, I am very disappointed that the Ombudsman states that she purportedly could not help me and would unilaterally close her file with no opportunity to reopen as she was in need of information. What information could she possibly have needed? If she can read English, she has all of the information in all of the email messages just like you have been provided in this email message.
(2) I am very disappointed in your Financial Services Advisor (1) for apparently not filing my documents timely with whatever sources you send my information to in which to receive funding from under the Pell Grant. This is evident in that the PENDING REVIEW MESSAGE never changed from PENDING REVIEW to APPROVED, in a message Michael Noble sent to me on December 28, 2009, that evidences that my financial aid package was still pending review over 1 year after I submitted all of the necessary documents to Ashford. The December 28, 2009 message from Michael Noble is attached to this email.
(3) I am also injured by the Enrollment Advisor while enrolling because I was told that I qualified for financial aid and during the enrollment process. During said time, I let my advisor know that I would not enroll if I was not going to receive financial aid. I was told that since I was guaranteed to receive the financial aid, I could go ahead and begin my coursework while the documents were being processed, so I began my online education.
(4) After I withdrew from school, not knowing what happened with the financial aid, I just figured Ashford had probably received the aid, and then reimbursed to Pell Grant whatever unused funds had been left since I had only taken two courses, until late in 2009, when I receive a collections notice from Williams & Fudge. I thought, Collections? What do you mean, Collections! I was under the impression that a collections account is typically an aged account that a company has tried collecting upon, but cant, and so it is handed over to collections. The Williams & Fudge collections letter to me was the first notice that I had received from anyone, that there continued to be a balance due, a balance which I cannot afford and a balance which I thought I had resolved by submitting all of the required paperwork to Ashford on September 13, 2008. So if that is the case, how can this be a collections matter? I had never even received status as to my financial aid, nor had I ever received an accounting of how the balance grew to epic proportions the #3,920.00 collections bill I received from Williams & Fudge for a bad debt! How could this debt be bad when Ashford University failed to file documents on time to receive the Pell Grant or failed to take the steps to inform me timely as to what the status was of my financial aid package, if there were any, and if there were problems with the documents submitted, a detailed letter stating how to correct the documents. A little bit of information during the time period I was attending school would have been nice, or even in the same year, would have been good. However, to wait over a year without having given me any information as to the status or even following up on the status of the package and advising me at any time in 2008 or even as late as early 2009 would have been nice. However, to wait until the end of 2009 to first tell me that my financial aid package was still Pending Review (as per the December 28, 2009 email from Michael Nobles who upon being confronted with the fact that my financial aid package had been Pending Review since mid-2008 and a request that he look into the matter, was I then informed that financial aid was not received by Ashford on my behalf due to documentation that was left owing which I purportedly failed to submit (A BLASPHEMOUS LIE AS IS EVIDENCED BY ASHFORDS EMAIL TO ME AND MY REPLY EMAIL TO ASHFORD WHEREIN ASHFORD IDENTIFIES THE DOCUMENTS THEY NEED IN ORDER TO CONTINUE PROCESSING MY FINANCIAL AID PACKAGE AND IN MY REPLY EMAIL I ATTACH THOSE EXACT DOCUMENTS FULL OF ALL INFORMATION AND EXECUTED BY ME, SPECIFICALLY, the 2008-2009 FAFSA VERIFICATION AND MY 2007 TAX RETURN.)
(5) First notice from a collection agency of a debt is not a good thing. In addition, when I contact Ashford upon receipt of the collections notice, I requested confirmation as to the status of my financial aid package informing Ashford that I had been placed into collections. Hence, Michael Noble sends me an email message stating to me that my financial aid is PENDING REVIEW. It wasnt until I asked for clarification as to how long a financial aid package can be Pending Review that Michael Noble thereafter informed me that they had not received financial aid and that I need to continue dealing with Williams & Fudge on this debt.
(6) I do not owe this amount of money. I have reviewed the Ledger and if it wasnt for Ashford Universitys Finance/Financial Aid Departments failure, or lack of follow through in processing my financial aid application to which I was given a verbal guaranty that I would receive Financial Assistance to pay for my tuition as I had informed the Enrollment Advisor that I was not in a position to incur this debt. I was reassured that I would receive the aid and it would be applied to my coursework as I proceeded, since it was recommended that I take the minimal number of classes since I had just begun working full time (after having been on and off of disability for several years) which would give me a better chance at completing the coursework successfully. Regardless of whether I signed that I would be responsible for this account, Ashford breached its obligations and verbal agreement to me, and the4refore, my responsibility of this account should be considered a nullity. I have been financially injured by this failure and breach and continue to suffer from damages until this matter is resolved.
Well, I am sorry, but Ashford has not only broken there verbal agreements to me, Ashford has also failed to fulfill its duties in assisting me obtain financial aid and its own obligations in processing the financial aid package to receive and administer those funds,, a condition I verbally placed on Ashford University in order to enroll and attend classes. I was reassured that due to my EFC on the FAFSA, I would definitely receive a full Pell Grant, and for each year, and feeling confident that Ashford would fulfill its obligations, I began attending class. Now, I have a $3,920.00 that should have been covered by funding from the Pell Grant, however, due as a direct result of Ashfords failure to fulfill its obligations in processing the paperwork, funds were never received. To add insult to injury, not only the Financial Services Advisor, but also the Ombudsman, have both avoided the true issues surrounding this incorrect debt, by completing ignoring the documented evidence and using the cloak that more information is needed. What information? The truth of the matter is that Ashford University doesnt need any more information. Ashford has been in possession of all information timely when Ashford requested the information. What information Ashford doesnt want to admit to is the fact that Ashford failed to submit my documents to the funding source or failed to follow through if there was any type of error in correcting such by asking me for subsequent information. Since that never happened and the only excuse I was able to get from Michael Noble were the following oxymorons:
I will be unable to assist you in the processing of your financial aid. The documents are showing as pending review due to your completion of the documents.
Greetings from the Ashford University Student Finance Department. We are very excited about your enrollment and wish to help you complete your financial aid process in a timely manner. This is a courtesy email to present to you the status of your required financial aid documents. The documents which appear in the table below must be submitted to our processing department, reviewed and approved in order for us to prepare your financial aid award. The message that was sent to me over 1 year after I had provided Ashford with the documents that they requested of me to complete processing of my financial aid And over one year after I had already left Ashford.
What is really just unacceptable is that Ombudsmen are typically neutral positions held by people with the intent of providing service in that manner. The Ashford/Bridgepoint Ombudsman is not only a front to appear to provide a service, but with all due respect, a complete farce as to how Ombudsmen came to be. All the Ombudsman knew how to do was ask for more information (even though she was in the possession of it all, fail to read or give importance to anything that I said or even use diligence in or even a minimal sense of care in her work to investigate the information I presented her, All the Ombudsman could do for me note my complaint, ask me for more information and then unilaterally close my case and inform me that I could not reopen my case with the Ombudsans office, my only recourse at this stage is to write to you at GrievanceResolution@Ashford.edu with the subject line to read THIS IS MY FORMAL COMPLAINT.
So, now you have all of my information and my formal complaint. I respectfully request that due to Ashfords failure in processing my paperwork and making false and inaccurate representations to me that they never should have made to me if they were not going to follow through, that the $3,920.00 collections account be immediately removed from collections, notice given to all major credit bureaus that this account was erroneously placed in collections, and finally, that the $3,920.00 BALANCE DUE be reduced to ZERO. I invite you to please resolve this matter with me as I would like to avoid litigation and the costs associated with same, even though I am confident I will prevail should litigation commence on this matter due to all of my documented evidence whereby my out of pocket costs could be recoverable.
In the event that you will not accept this offer of settlement I will begin preparing this matter for arbitration or litigation. As such, please provide me with a copy of the original agreement that I entered into with Ashford upon enrollment and confirm as to whether an arbitration clause exists that could perhaps cover a dispute such as mine, and confirm the venue and jurisdiction. I would like to participate in informal discovery prior to commencement of any legal action and have attached a list of Request for Admissions in portable document format I request be answered.
This report was posted on Ripoff Report on 08/29/2010 09:41 PM and is a permanent record located here: http://www.ripoffreport.com/r/Asgford-University/Clinton-Iowa-52732/Asgford-University-Ashford-University-Online-ASHFORDS-IDEA-OF-EVOLUTION-Clinton-Iowa-635549. The posting time indicated is Arizona local time. Arizona does not observe daylight savings so the post time may be Mountain or Pacific depending on the time of year.
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