After my stress-filled divorce accompanied by many financial struggles and raising two kids, I went in search of better job opportunities. As with many others, I too had my resume on posted on monster.com. I was contacted by Ameritrain in Cary, NC. Trish, who called me for an interview. I was skeptical at first, since my background was in healthcare, however I possessed the aptitude for a career in the computer industry.
When I presented for my interview, I too was given "the test". The test didn't really take me all that long, and I too was told that I did better than expected. That is when I was told that by taking two of their courses in MCSE and Cisco, I could go to work for them, or they would assist in job placement providing I obtained my MCSE and Cisco certifications. She showed me the average salary range for IT professionals with those particular certifications, which ranged from $45K-$75K, and when you look at the fact that you are making less than $30K a year, it seemed like an attractive deal. Trish then proceeded to complete the application for SLM Financial to see if I qualified for the loan. I explained to her that I have just been through a divorce, and I did not think I would qualify based on my credit history. She told me that we could see what they would say.
Trish also seemed very concerned, wanting this for me so I wouldn't struggle as much anymore. When my original loan application was denied, so then she applied through Key Ban, both institutions wanted a cosigner on the loan. Trish made her almost daily phone calls to see if I could get a cosigner on the loan. My mother was reluctant to co sign on a loan for me, but against her better judgement, she believed in me enough to agree to cosign. I met with Trish again to complete the loan application. She stated that there were problems at Ameritrain's corporate level with the financial institution agreeing to fund the loans to their organization, so Ameritrain worked things out with SLM Financial, and the application would send through them once again. This time, the loan was approved, and I was also told that my mother's name would only be on the loan for ONE year.
I had signed up for the evening sessions for MCSE and Cisco, which were scheduled to start around May 18th, 2002. Two weeks before the start of the program, I ended up having major abdominal surgery and was out of work for 6 weeks. I tried to contact Ameritrain to let them know of the situation, and I was also told that if I had to choose a different session it would be no problem as long as it's within a year, however, their schedule was filling up and if there was any way possible that I could attend, that I should. So two weeks after my surgery, I showed up for class (in alot of pain I might add). The first night, I had no books as promised. Apparently, there was a problem with the loan paperwork again. I was told to stay, and it would be worked out.
I went to the evening classes up for approximately 4 weeks. Then the instructor told us one evening that there would not be class the Thursday before a long weekend, but classes would resume after that. When we went to class the scheduled night, there was no Ameritrain. The building was cleared out, no computers, no people, just an empty building. There was no sign on the door, no phone calls from Ameritrain, and no letters. I too called Ameritrain to find out what the deal was, only to never reach anyone. There went my hopes for making a better life for my kids and I.
I experienced even greater financial hardships after that, as I did not get short term disability after my surgery as I was informed that I would. So I was not able to pay my rent, I was evicted, and had no where to go. I ended up moving to NJ. Ameritrain's number was no longer in service, however I did get a phone message from Steve Govia stating that the Cary location of Ameritrain simply relocated to a different office space and he would be mailing a map to the location. When I tried to call the number he had left for me to explain my situation, again, it was a number that was not in service. I then called SLM Financial to explain the situation to them, and they basically said, "too bad".
I have written congressman, I have reported them to the Federal Trade Commission, I have explored all avenues that I can without an attorney. I do not have the money for an attorney. I have made random payments to SLM when the threats started to involve garnishing the wages of my mother and myself. This has ruined my credit that I had worked hard to re-establish. SLM Financial reports my credit balance on my credit report, AND their third party collection service, also reports the balance as owed on my credit report, so therefore it looks as if I have twice the amount of debt. I have written all three of the credit bureaus, and their response was simply to contact the creditor (SLM), to date this has yet to be resolved.
Both my mother and I have spoke to at least 10 different people at SLM and explained the situation. We were offered forebearances, and we were even told that we should just get a loan for the remaining balance on the account, like we are going to walk into another financial institution and ask for an $11K loan to pay off a student loan for an education that I did not receive as promised from a school that was not licensed to operate in the state of NC. We would be laughed out of the bank.
I too am disgusted with SLM financial.
They are just as much at fault as Ameritrain because they agreed to fund a school that was unlicensed to operate in the state of North Carolina. I am appalled that a corporate giant such as SLM would lend its name to such shady business operations. However after considerable research, this is often a trend with SLM making one think that perhaps they are more to fault than Ameritrain itself.
I was not offered a teach-out at any other schools. This was never an option offered to me, thank goodness. It sounds as though that no matter what school was named for the people that did receive those teach out offers, the fate of those schools were no different than that of Ameritrain.
This is one of the biggest scams and scandals I have ever encountered in my life. Not only does it affect ME, but it also affects my family. I am beginning to feel that this horrendous crime is falling upon deaf ears and that no justice exists for those of us who cannot afford an attorney to represent us. I have tried calling the 1-888-4FEDAID number, and it simply says that the call cannot be completed as dialed. Does anyone else have any recommendations?
I now live in Colorado, and have tried to move on with life. I cannot buy a house because of the double reporting on my credit report. My mother and I continue to get threatening phone calls. It does not matter to Sallie Mae (SLM) what the laws are in North Carolina, they don't comply with the FTC holding rule. They are allowed to get away with this despite the writing on the wall. I just want it all to end.
U.S.A. Click here to read other Rip Off Reports on SLM Financial "a Sallie Mae company" Click here to read other Rip Off Reports on SLM Financial - AmeriTrain