I'm glad to have finally found this place. It took a little bit of searching, but my girlfriend and I definitely have a story to tell as well.
My girlfriend and I met while she was in the middle of her Phase II "education" at BCTI, Salem. She had started Phase I a couple of years prior, but had to leave midway due to pregnancy complications. She restarted after the baby was born with a fresh new 10K loan (the previous one had not been discharged).
After completing Phase I, she was contacted by the school and they asked her to return to attend Phase II, which she did, whereby adding another loan to the existing pile, of which she was consistently paying.
The first time I picked her up at school, I was a little shocked to discover that it was actually located in a strip mall. It seemed odd to me that the school had no major capital assets.
A couple of months later, she mentioned that the school was still using Windows 98 o/s. I was alarmed that the school hadn't updated their operating systems to Windows 2000 (by this time it was 2002). I mentioned that it was a little unsettling that a technology school didn't even utilize the most current technology. I then asked her if she would be receiving her MCSE (Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer) or some other industry standard certification (A+, N+, etc.). She said the school promised her that she would receive these certs when she was recruited, but she checked into it.
The next day, two weeks prior to her graduation, she learned that she would receive a "BCTI Certification of Completion". Any additional certs would have to be taken and paid for indpendently.
For anyone who is unaware of what is required for an MCSE (and this is only one of the many different MICROSOFT categories a person can get certification for), there are 5 core tests required and 2 elective tests. Each of these tests cost big $$ (around $150 apiece) JUST TO TAKE THEM and if you fail, you don't get your money back.
She graduated from BCTI in October of 2002. Once she was out the door, she was pretty much forgotten. She had to hound BCTI Career Services for help and the help she got was job leads for minimum wage service jobs. She had several hits from the Oregon Employment Department for lucrative networking jobs for Oregon State University, Linn-Benton Community College and some City of Albany jobs, but she discovered, through the interviewing processes, that she was still vastly underqualified. By December of 2002, she was completely discouraged and filed for deferrment. By 2003, BCTI rumors were flooding the area and she defaulted on her student loans, of which she still owes about half ($15,000).
I don't blame her. If I received that kind of terrible service, I wouldn't pay for it either. Consumers do have rights. Unfortunately, that default will haunt her forever unless she can get them legally discharged. People can NOT file bankruptcy on Federal Student Loans.
After poring through the posts that I've found on this site for a fraudulent misrepresentation report that I'm doing in my Business Law class, I have to say that I am completely stunned and appalled at the ratio of instructor postings that fail so miserably in grammatical standards and overall professionalism.
I'm disgusted at the marketing methods employed by BCTI and terribly saddened by the way the company treated their more qualified and ethical employees.
If anyone reads this who is considering a private trade/business school, please consider the following things prior to putting your name on the dotted line:
1) Capital assets: this means that the school actually has a CAMPUS. Not leased, storefront property in a strip mall or a fly by night Internet document mill.
2) An itemized graduation checklist. Get one and then take it to your local university, community/junior college to check it against their requirements. All businesses will recognize an Associate's, Bachelor's or Master's Degree from a state certified school. Always. Employers might not take a little known private vo/tech school certification seriously.
3) Consider where you were recruited. If it's at a government facility for underprivileged people (like the Department of Human Services office, County Mental Health, etc) or a drug rehab facility take it someone within that office for some consultation. Most DHS offices already work in liason with local community colleges and if you're serious, they can really help you out.
4) Consider the cost. Folks, I'm a dual enrolled student at Linn-Benton Community College and Oregon State University. At a minimum, through my community college, I pay about $1000 a term for my classes and about $400 a term for books. There are 4 available terms each year. This equates to $5600 a year, if you go year round (this means going during the summer). There are generally (6) terms to complete for an Associate's Degree. This equates to roughly $8400 for a bona-fide Associate's Degree. My girlfriend had to pay $10,000 for a single phase. Each phase took about 8 months to complete.
Do the math yourself. The consumer really got ripped off through BCTI.
5) Talk with any Career Guidance center BEFORE enrolling. Ask for a list of companies they work with and CHECK UP ON IT. If they won't provide a list to you, something is being hidden and you should run for the hills.
6) Talk with their Financial Aid department. If the only financial aid that you can get is a student loan, go to another school. There are literally billions of scholarship dollars each year that go uncollected -- your community college can really help you here. Remember -- you have to repay a loan, you don't have to repay a scholarship or grant.
This has gotten very long-winded, but I hope it helps someone in the future. I would hate to see another person have to go through what my girlfriend (and, as a result, myself) has gone through.
Best of luck.