I felt important you should be aware of a private loan Westwood College is offering students that trape them into financial burden. If only I knew then what I know now, I would have never signed on the dotted line. In January 2004 I wanted to go back to school. I was tired of doing retail work and wanted to pursue a career in Graphic Design and Multimedia. I didn't realize until after I graduated how much it would really cost me to to go to school at Westwood College at the DuPage Campus in Woodridge, Illinois.
In order for me to attend Westwood College, I had to take out school loans. I have federal, stafford and a private loans. The federal and stafford loans I was able to consolidate at a great interest rate. But, the private loan has turned into a financial nightmare. The private loan is called, "Career Training Loan" I believe I was not given an opportunity to seek out other lenders as an option to an alternative loan. What I found out now about the "Career Training Loan" should be told to any student/parent or adult who is considering going back to school.
Warning about "Career Training Loans" offered by Westwood College as an additional way to pay for college. The paper work will read, "Career Training Loan easy to apply affordable payments, fast approval process interest rates tied to prime." The key phrase, "...Interest rates tied to prime." This is where Sallie Mae makes there money on the loan because interest rate is "tied to prime" but also "...rounded to the nearest 1/4%. Many perspective students (such as myself at the time) may not be aware of this or are rushed through the financial aid process. Only after they sign the promissory note they find out the truth about their private loans. For example, in the beginning my interest rate on the "Career Training Loan" started around 5.5% now my interest rate is at 8.75%. I found out through talking with Sallie Mae over the phone, my interest rate can go as high as 18%. My intention is to pay off my school loans, but it seems an impossible task with the interest rates changing every month. What is also interesting is my interest rate on the last two billing statements changed but the payment amount of $77.76 remained the same. (By the way, I did not recive an interest paid statement on my private loan)
(Another note about Sallie Mae, be aware Sallie Mae is a huge corporation with many subsidized companies within the company ex. Sallie Mae Servicing, Nellie Mae, SallieMae etc. However, we as the borrower are only give one 888# to reach them. If we are lucky we may get a represenative from the U.S. but usually the calls are outsourced to India).
I am glad I went back to school and received my degree in Graphic Design and Multimedia in May of 2005. I just didn't realize the level of financial stress it would bring. I am thankful I found a job in my field of study. Please note, I didn not rely on the assistance of job placement from Westwood College.
My advice to anyone considering this college: Don't sign on the dotted line after the sales pitch. Take the time to read the contract over and have someone else look at it with you. Then make the decision. Don't let financial aid rush you through paper work. Ask questions! Talk with other students attending the school who know the truth about the way financial aid works. If you make an appointment with financial aid have a witness come. Get copies of everything you sign and make sure if you sign paper work get copies with your signature on them. Do not let them give you copies without a signature. Make sure your financial aid representave clearly signs his name on the documents and dates the paper work correctly. If you have any doubts trust your instinct. It will save you from financial burden and stress.
In addition be sure to research the following to find out what applies to your situation:
Consumer Gurantees Act (1993) "How To Exercise Your Consumer Rights." Financial Privacy Act, Financial Institutions Regulatary and Interest Rate Control Act of 1978, FDIC Consumer Financial Rights, www.fidic.gov/regulations/laws/rules.
I have written letters of complaints to the State Board of Education of Illinois, to the governor of Illinois, U.S. Department of Education and to the Corporate headquarters of Sallie Mae and to Dallas News Reports WFAA-8 (Westwood College headquarters is located in Texas).
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