After reading the plethora of complaints against Kaplan University, I have concluded that there is more to their predatory, unscrupulous behavior than 'sour grapes' or 'disgruntled employees'. The sheer number of complaints is impressive and span's several different sites. Interestingly, the complaints are all very similar indicating a pattern that should not be ignored.
With a failing economy, many people are turning to education to improve their circumstances and marketability. Don't think this is being ignored by the powerful, greedy, corporate entities seeking profit from the hope and desperation of people trying to survive. This is a group that feeds off the stench of desperation orchestrated by their insatiable desire to amass more, whether it is power or money there is never enough. This is where Kaplan fits.
My experience with their admission person (sales representative) is similar to that described by others. It was an aggressive high-pressure pitch that included a number of lies, innuendos, and deceptions. Having enjoyed and achieved success with real universities I hold education to a high standard and certain purity. It was my inexperience with the 'used car' sales pitch and coercion that manipulated me into signing their contract. In spite of the fact I told this sales rep. I wanted to think about the program she pressed on with more frantic pressure. That goes back to the old sentiment 'the sale starts when the customer says no'. There were so many lies and manipulations it would take a great deal of time and space to literate.
In hindsight I realize that the timing was completely consistent with meeting an end of the month deadline. I unwittingly became a statistic of a sales quota/enrollment requirement. Previously, I held the sales representative in contempt for her behavior, projecting her as being ambitious and immoral. After reading complaints from ex-employees, I have become compassionate to the fact that she was more likely compelled by fear for her job and income. Insecurity and fear lead to desperate actions. Not surprisingly, she no longer works for Kaplan.
I think Kaplan exploits the individual's belief that there is a purity and promise inherent in higher education. Like many other's, I had not yet realized that this is a completely profit motivated enterprise. It was my experience that they will say and do anything to get you to sign up and commit monies offering the hope of bettering your future. Make no mistake. Kaplan University is a large corporate concern that is all about money. Money, money, money! They will do whatever it takes to get money, keep money, extort money, intimidate, bully, and destroy anyone who stands between them and .....money.
Through a completely freakish series of events, my life fell apart within days of giving them a deposit. Had the sales person not pressured me, I can say with complete certainty that I would not have made this choice. Had Ms. sales rep conceded to my request I would have not have been in this predicament. Ms. E. from the extortion.. oh, I mean business office informed me it is their procedure to acquiesce to consumers who ask for time to think about the program. That is a lie. While they advertise access to educational advisor's, yet I was afforded none. If their educational team were a fraction as ambitious as their collection department they might have a decent program.
In my conversations with Ms. E. she made several statements:
1. Kaplan University does not have an enrollment/sales quota
2. Their enrollment staff (they are really salesman) never use high-pressure tactics sell their program
3. Their enrollment staff are comprised of mostly Master's level people
4. Kaplan is a fortune 300 Corporation
5. They are a subsidiary of the Washington Post
6. .....The Washington Post! Seriously! That explains a lot!
Does anybody understand how much money and lawyer power these people have? Does Kaplan answer to a board of education or a board of stockholder's willing to suck the hope, dreams, inspiration, aspirations, reputations, and future from the working class trying to better their lot in life? Should education be in the hands of corporate vampires at all? This presents a very real threat to the quality and integrity of the University system.
While Kaplan has all manner of knowledge about the student, they can use for extortion and intimidation purposes. The nameless, faceless power mongers remain safely anonymous enjoying the hard earned money of the uninitiated and naive bilked out of precious resources. These 'businessmen' profit from the dashed hopes and dreams of people struggling to pay their bills. Does anyone believe they really cares if the welfare and future of other's is compromised to make their wallets fatter? After all, it is simply business.
Beyond the devastation to those unlucky enough to fall prey to Kaplan's sales pitch is a more salient consideration. When the focus is increasing that sacred profit margin, it is likely program development, teaching staff, student selection, etc. are sacrificed to expand the bottom line. Sadly, quality, ethics, and integrity are only cheap marketing catch phrases to the greedy. This gives credence to the complaints alleging inferior programs, plagiarism, questionable student acceptance, teachers, etc.
These are predators for profit. What makes them all the more vile as predators, is their willingness to prey upon the innocence of people hoping to expand their potential through the promise of education. Nobody expects universities to function without profit, however, Kaplan resorts to shameless depths to seduce and ensnare with outcomes falling short of the promise. There is no reason to lie, mislead, and harass. Put out a superior product and people will respond.
When I asked Ms. E. direct questions about the reports online, the warm fuzzy, 'all I want to do is help you succeed' veneer fell away revealing a hostile mean individual, clearly resenting having her authority questioned. For my defiance I expect retribution and character assault that is often the result of defying low level bureaucrats.
Ms. E. did tell me, if I gave her access to my checking account she would unblock my access and allow me to enroll. It was a good cop- bad cop' approach that was nauseating and patronizing. Having finally done the research and reading all of these complaints, I do not want Kaplan University in my life. As much as I dread the onslaught of harassment coming my way, I truly cannot stomach the possibility of engaging in their bastardization of education.
They are not ethical and I do not trust them. I offered to pay what I could monthly and the not warm fuzzy Ms. E. wanted no less than access to my bank account. I think she wanted my soul too, however, that may have already been included in the original contract.
The warm fuzzy Ms. E. espoused her deep desire to help me meet my educational goals. It was ever, ever so sweet. She even waxed poetic about my 'having learned a great life lesson' and her deep sincere regret that I was buying nothing, however, 'you did sign the contract regardless of the circumstances, Soooo....' The only life lesson I learned involved my concept of education. In a span of ten short minutes all I had come to believe to be true of higher education was turned into a fantastical remembrance, as higher education has become a ruthless, corrupt, lying, manipulative force, undermined by the same corporate greed that has consumed every other aspect of American life.
Ms. E. eluded that all the complaints against Kaplan were a created by irresponsible failures. She told me that Kaplan graduates were in the Supreme Court (she didn't specify, could have been the food court at a local mall), that they (Kaplan) were esteemed and accredited. She proposed the question "could Kaplan be accredited if we were unethical?" Hmmmm Yes!! Money and power can buy anything.
These people accept no responsibility whatsoever for their product. They are all too willing to slough off all criticism as being the end result of lazy, uninspired loser's. That cheap excuse has become the overused clich war cry of every corporate behemoth and their brown nosed lackey's. Can't they come up with something else? I often wonder if these stooges serving as the sword of self-righteous authoritarianism understand that they are as dispensable as a gum wrapper when the corporate bottom line needs increasing.
It is my guess that there are people getting very, very rich in this mix. I guarantee it is not the professors, it is not the advisory, collection, or sales staff. Kaplan's behavior is nothing short of unethical and greedy. One of the wisest phrases in movie-dom was 'follow the money' , it has become a universal truth. The path of greenbacks, in this case will lead you through a field of human emotional carnage right to the fat little greedy fingers of a dispassionate corporate giant and its shareholders
So, here's the bottom line. Kaplan seems to operate on the Machiavellian concept of "the ends justify the means", which will always fall in their favor. It's as predictable as playing blackjack in Vegas. The house wins! They are not what they appear to be. There are far too many complaints to ignore indicating there is a real problem here.
If you really want a good education, as hard as it may be, hold out for a real, honest to God, university where the quality of education really matters. Go where people care about your experience and become invested in your outcomes. Hold out for integrity. My experiences with state and private universities have been incredible. I have come away with a great body of knowledge, confidence/competence in my field, and degrees that actually impress and have merit in the real world.
In a world of choices, think twice before making Kaplan your choice. One last word of advice, if you involve yourself with Kaplan, make it a priority to invest in one of those small voice recorders that connect to your cell phone. You will need it!
San Angelo, Texas