I graduated WITH HONORS from the Al Collins Graphic Design School in October of 1990. BEFORE graduation I spoke to Melissa Simonson of Job Placement at Al Collins about relocating here to Sebring, Florida. I asked her if I would have any problems finding art related employment in this area, and what I should do myself before moving. (I knew nothing at all about demograhpics myself, and was told at the time of enrollment that that is what job placement was there for.)
Ms. Simonson promised me that she would look into Sebring, and a week later convinced me that I would have no trouble working in my field here. I relocated because I had her assurance. The school, NOW, admits that this is a small community in which art related jobs are very scarce. Why did Ms. Simonson not inform me of this when I asked her, BEFORE I relocated? My trust and faith in her was tragically misplaced. All the time, money, and hard work I put into my degree is wasted because of negligence from a member of the Al Collins Graphic Design School. The school's justification for Ms. Simonson's deceit is the fact that the school allegedly made 103 phone calls on my behalf from 1990 - 1994. (A small average of less than three calls a month.) Besides the fact that these "calls" were made AFTER I moved here and the damage was already done, most of these "beneficial" phone calls were made to companies unheard of in this area. (As the school was aware, I am slightly handicapped and do not drive.)
Al Collins Graphic Design School and (then) President Ralph Vieau would not return my calls or answer my letters. I have always been patient and courteous. Mr.Vieau had an attorney send me a letter falsey accussing me of putting little effort myself into obtaining employment. This is a harsh and unfair statement. I worked full time at a convenience store putting myself through college. I put a lot of time, hard work, and money into my degree. I am very proud of my talent and portfolio. Why would I deliberately throw all that away? I have even offered to do volunteer work for experience.
I have copies of letters from very respectable business people that testify to my great ambitions and determination. The school's attorney belittles me because I can not afford to relocate again. Mr. Vieau rudely and unprofessionally ignored my calls, so I am accused of harassment and my phone service is threatened. ( The phone company records will prove that I am not committing "tele-abuse" as Collins' lawyer insinuates. Never have, never will.) Mr. Vieau's attorney also accuses me of "invasion of privacy".
This is another false statement I cannot even understand. Mr. Vieau stated through his lawyer that there is nothing the school can do to assist me. They could offer me a refresher course. They could honor the lifetime placement assistance promised me when I enrolled. They could even offer a tuition refund under the circumstances. I believe the least the school could, and should, do is TRY to help. I received a letter from Carol Katchmark at Accrediting Commision of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology (9/28/01) encouraging me to "contact the school directly" for assistance. I tried once again, to no avail. The school simply refuses to help me or show me any consideration.
My career STILL means a lot to me, but is obsolete. (Graphic Design programs have changed drastically.) I am making little more than minimum wage, trying to pay off a $38,000 student loan. This loan, for an education I can not use due to fault of the school, continues to grow. I have been writing to Mr. John Larson of Career Education Corporation (Owners of Collins College). His only response was another undeserved threatening letter from his lawyer that suggested I take out ANOTHER student loan and update my skills at a different school.
Recently (2003) Tina Newman, of Collins College also gave me the same "helpful" advice. I wrote her a couple of times since then. ANOTHER student loan would only deepen my financial burden further. Ms. Newman has not responded back. All I am asking is to be treated fairly. Again, the school simply refuses to help me, or treat me decently.
I hope I can save someone else the frustration, humiliation, and financial nightmare Collins College has caused me.
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