I decided to go back to school and started calling around to find out what costs were like and what schools offered the best degree for me. I came across GCU and got in contact with an academic advisor Kimberly. We went over the degree program I was interested in and she asked if it was something I was interested in. I told her I was and she proceeded to go further into her explaining about the school and before the end of the call she had sent out the free application and told me we would go ahead and start the enrollment process while I was still shopping around for schools that way if I did decide to go with them I could jump right into a class.
Eventually I decided I would go with GCU. Kimberly had stayed in contact with me the whole time and we had gotten everything I needed to get done taken care of. She told me we would shoot for the 29th of October as my start date. At this point in time we are about 4 weeks out from that date. She asked me before getting off the phone if I had any questions or concerns and I told her that because my wife is in school full time I was interested in talking to a financial aid councilor so that I could get a better idea of whether or not this was something I can afford now, or if I should wait to go back to school. She told me that he would be in contact with me closer to my start date in the next week or so when my FASFA was done processing.
Fast-forward a week and now I am 2 weeks out from starting class. I am contacted by Kimberly who tells me that she has recieved my official transcripts and that she was happy to tell me all my prior credits would be transferring. She also told me that she had gotten confirmation of my FAFSA Master Promissory Note being signed. basically she was just checking in to let me know everything was going smoothly and that we were on track for me to start on the 29th. Again before the end of the call I voiced my concern that I had not heard from a Financial Aid Councilor and told her that I needed to because I didn't want to do this if I couldn't afford it, and up until this point I was still not aware of how much it was going to cost exactly, and had no idea what kind of grants and financial aid I had been approved for. Kimberly assured me that he would be contacting me, this time telling me it would be within the next week.
Fast-forward another week and now it is Friday the 26th of October. Three days before I am supposed to start my online schooling. I receive a call from Kimberly around 5:30 my time which was about 2:30 her time. She tells me she has sent me tutorials and info about how to use the online system and that I would need to look over it before Monday. She also tells me she will be calling me Monday to walk me through the Online classroom herself. Then once again before getting off the phone I Again voiced my concern that I had not been contacted by a financial advisor. She tells me this time that she had just spoken with him earlier that day and that he would be calling me later that night. Finally 8:00pm my time rolls around meaning that its 5:00 their time and they are now closed. I had not heard of anyone since she called.
Monday the 29th comes and I get a call from Kimberly that morning who then proceeds to go over the online class layout and how to navigate it with me. Then after she asked for and questions or concerns yet again, I tell her yet again, that I needed to talk to a financial aid councilor. She tells me she will call him after she gets off the phone and that he will contact me later that day. She also says she will be in contact with me frequently throughout this first week to make sure I'm not having any trouble with anything. And surprise the day goes by without another call from anyone from GCU. At this point being the overly patient person that my wife hates, I finally start get get upset and irritated with them. My entire first week goes by and I dont hear from anyone. Not even Kimberly like she had told me to expect.
At the end of my first week I call on Friday and Kimberly is out of the office. Immediately after calling I get on my computer and write her an email explaining that I know most universities have policies in which once you pass a certain time frame you are responsible for paying for the entire class and cannot withdraw for free. I tell her that I am beginning to worry because I dont know what that time frame is, and I still have no idea what kind of financial aid I will be receiving. I tell her that I NEED to be contacted by a financial aid advisor ASAP. Monday comes and I wake up to an Email from Kimberly saying that she didn't know that I had not been contacted yet and that she had contacted "Gabriel's" supervisor and that Gabriel will be calling me that day.
At around 3:00pm I get a call from Gabriel. He begins the call by saying, "I heard that since the last time we talked you have had some concerns that need to be addressed." This pissed me off to say the least. Up until this point I didn't even know who he was, I had never heard his voice, I had never even been sent an email from him, so the fact that he tried to play it up like we had spoken before really irritated me. I asked him what this program was going to cost and he told me it would be a little over 9,000 a year. I then asked him how much I had been approved for in grants because up until this time I had no way of seeing my award letter. He told me that I was only approved for $4100 in grants and told me that I was also approved for a $3500 and a $6,000 loan. He explained that by taking both of them out I would be able to pay for the year. I then explained that my wife attends school full time and that I am a security guard and that we could not afford to take that much out in loans. He then proceeded to tell me that I could apply for scholarships and then put that towards the cost. I asked if there was any way that I could hold off on accepting my loans until I found out what scholarships I was eligible for and he told me that was an option. I then asked him what I had to withdraw if I decided this wasn't something I could afford.
Now let me remind you that at this point in time I am in the 1st day of my second week of school and up until this point have not been given any of this financial info, or any idea of what I was looking at cost vs. financial aid wise. So there is no way I could have made a responsible decision to attend of not attend before this point in time without that info. He proceeds to state GCU's withdraw policy. "Any student wanting withdraw within the first week of a class will be responsible for 25% of the full cost of that class. Any student wanting to withdraw anytime after that will be responsible for 100% of the cost of the class. At this point I am pretty furious. It just so happened that the students are responsible for the full cost of the class starting in the second week if they choose to withdraw and it just so happens that I am not contacted by a financial aid councilor until the beginning of my second week? I'm pissed. I get done going over everything with him, and get off the phone before I blow up on him. I get off the phone and go to my student page to look ant my award letter and find out that GCU has accepted all the loans and the grant I was offered in my place without my consent. (This is a Christian institution and what I wanted to say to him probably would have gotten me thrown out of the school) Later that day my wife gets home and we talk about what I had been told and needless to say she isn't happy with this either. At this point we are starting to feel as though we have almost been victimized, and taken advantage of.
At the end of that week after cooling down I contact Kimberly Via email. I starting thinking that, "This is a Christian School, Im sure they are going to understand where I'm coming from and be willing to help me." I tell Kimberly everything that happened and refresh her memory about me asking every time she called me if I could speak to someone In financial aid. I tell her that I feel that I was treated very unfairly and that I had never been involved with a school that would first off start you in class before ever even telling you what its gonna cost you, and second, then expect you to pay the full price of the class after they start you before telling you and you finding out you cant afford it. I told her that I wanted to take a step back, and have them remove me from the class and give me time to pray about the decision, and ask for some advice from some of my friends and family. I dont hear anything back.
Two days later I email her again and tell her that I have had my fill of the school and that I wanted to withdraw and that I wanted her to help me get though the withdraw process without having to pay since she got me into it without me ever being contacted by financial aid. I tell her that I feel like I have been very unfairly treated and that they can not possibly expect me to have to pay 100% of the cost because of their withdraw policy when I was not even contacted until my second week. I told her I would like to believe that that isn't their stand operating procedure and that I'm hoping she can help me work this out. I told her that I thought anyone who took a step back and looked at this situation would see that I was basically pushed into starting school before I had time to make a good decision and without knowing if it was even something I could afford.
The next week Kimberly calls me and basically explains that she cant do anything about it and that she had contacted Gabriel's Management and that they would be in contact with me later in the week. She said they would be the ones to make any decisions like that. And that in the mean time she would start looking for more financial options that may help me with my situation. She asked what I wanted to do and I again said I cant afford this, and if I had been contacted when I wanted and expected to be I would have know I couldn't afford it before ever starting and wouldn't even be in this situation. She told me she was sorry, but didn't even address that I had just said I wanted to withdraw. She said she would have Gabriel's manager call me and they would be able to assist me further. We got off the phone, and I haven't heard from her since. I emailed her last week just to say I was working the rest of the week and that if she needed to contact me to email me. And I have yet to hear from her.
I'm still going to fight this and atleast try to get them to let me withdraw before my next class. But please for your own good STAY AWAY FROM THIS SCHOOL! ITS NOT WORTH IT!