I am a recent ex-employee of Collins College and accidently stumbled across the reports contained in this service and was, I'm sorry to say, not suprised.
Being fairly young and inexperienced, this may not say much, but Collins College ranks among the worst places I have ever worked! I loved my fellow employees, I loved working with the students and I even loved my job! So what happened to sour my experience? Collins College was once Al Collins Graphic Design School. From what I hear from those loyal employees who know, is that it was once a wonderful place to work and a great up and coming school. This was when Al Collins was still alive and involved in the ownership and curriculum of the school.
After he left, it was purchased by an emerging corporation called CEC or Career Education Corporation. From what I can tell, this is when the problems started. When I came on board at Collins, I loved it! I came to work happy knowing that I sincerely liked my job. Sure, some people were unhappy but that was normal. Today, I know that every single employee starts out "loving it". You can tell the new employees by the spring in their step and the flash of their bright smiles. Later on that spring evolves into a dull shuffle and the smile becomes forced.
Why is this happening? Read any of the rip-off reports posted by students and you'll have your answer. We slowly began to realize that we weren't working for a school but a money mill designed to build up the students with hollow promises and milk them for every cent. Now, in defense of the school, aren't we just trying to make a buck? We are selling something right? We aren't doing anything illegal. That is all true but unfortunately we were not equipped to provide the service these students were paying for.
We are expected to provide excellent customer service, exceptional instruction and a warm, welcoming learning environment. Our resources included; a low budget, middle road technology, old/outdated facilities (in my department we had one bathroom for over 20 people!), little or no appreciation or support from management and these are just the ones I can think of in hindsight. I'm sure if you asked a current employee they could greatly expand on this list!
With all this working against us, of course we couldn't provide what the Admission Reps, in their shiny new offices with their fat paychecks, promised. They were the used salesmen of the outfit and were paid well for it. We were only the support staff. When asked why the pay was distributed so unfairly our director sighed and said in a tired voice, "Well, they're the ones who bring in the money." True but should they get paid more than the director of financial aid? My department by the way.
So here is the typical day in my department. We have a line of students out the door who have been called from class because they owe the school money. They are all irritated at having to come in and we aren't that happy to see them either. We are understaffed and underpaid and generally annoyed because they are the same ones we see EVERY day. Some of them are truly screw-ups that don't pay, but some of them are victims of the money mill we work for.
Congratulations! you've been accepted at Collins College! Show up your first day of class and don't worry about how you're going to pay for it, we'll work it out. That is an actual line fed to a prospective student by an admissions rep. What are they planning on funding the student out of their own pocket? Do they have a scholarship or grant that we haven't heard about? So you can see what happens next. Now the student has attended their first week of class and before we can catch it, they have racked up a huge bill. So, it's our job to call them in, sit them down and tell them that they have no financial aid, could not be funded and can't sit in class until it's covered and oh, by the way here's your bill so far.
Why didn't we catch them? you ask. If we had time and enough employees we would happily do so but CEC feels the financial aid office can exist with only half a dozen people. And that was only part of the problem. Add to that ineffective management and a few people pulling the weight of the entire department and you will see only part of the problem.
I literally felt sick on the way to work thinking about who's life we would ruin next. And that's what we were doing, making or breaking these students lives. Now, I've said alot of snide things so far about the admissions reps but in reality they were just like us. They were there to work and few of them had any idea what they were talking about. They worked under the shadow of being fired at any moment, which is why most students report that their reps have disappeared.
I find myself having much more to say but I know that I have said more than enough. I will leave it open for other employees to vent... However I would also like to encourage all potential students to visit the CEC website and check their other schools before making a choice. This can't just be happening here in Arizona. www.careered.com
U.S.A. Click here to read other Rip Off Reports on Al Collins Graphic Design School