• Report: #466417
Complaint Review:

AIU Online - American Intercontinental University

  • Submitted: Tue, June 30, 2009
  • Updated: Mon, July 20, 2009

  • Reported By:Houston Texas
AIU Online - American Intercontinental University
5550 Prairie Stone Parkway, Suite 400 Hoffman Estates, Illinois U.S.A.

AIU Online - American Intercontinental University School operates on fundamentals of Identity Theft, False Advertising and Fraud. Hoffman Estates Illinois

*Consumer Suggestion: Passing Blame

*UPDATE Employee: Impossible...

*Consumer Suggestion: Suggestion

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As of today, June 30, 2009, there have been numerous high profile cases of fraud, scams, money laundering, embezzlement, and downright heinous acts against the innocent consumer. From Enron to Stanford Financial, there are millions of criminals and corporations that partake in damaging thousands of lives for profit and only a select few actually get caught. It takes a lot of people and a lot of action to bring these evil doers to justice and everyone should really evaluate if they too have become a victim of such crimes. Where there is smoke there is fire, if you think for one second that something isn't right then follow your instincts. I thought my situation with AIU was bigger than me and that I somehow just screwed up in not reading the fine print, I believed AIU and was going to just roll over and accept their allegations that I had defaulted on my financial responsibilities. That was until I did research and found that hundreds of other students were going through the exact same thing. I had many sleepless nights trying to figure this out and countless more just knowing that I wasn't the only victim.

I enrolled at AIU to earn a BIT in 2007 and completed the program in 2008. A coworker of mine had just graduated from the college and he highly recommended the school as a great option while working full time. I looked into it and bought into their advertisements of an affordable and easy way to earn a degree online. When looking over my degree plan and the website, my tuition was posted in black and white to cost $22,500 plus a $50 application fee. My parents and I felt it was a reasonable investment so we took out money from various savings accounts and agreed to Cash Payment Installments. We denied any financial aid and repeatedly said that we did not want to take out any loans for tuition. It was still a part of their policy that I had to complete the FAFSA paperwork in order to access my classes so I did for the academic years I was enrolled but I never accepted any loans, signed for any loans, received any checks in the mail for a loan or authorized disbursement of a loan. My parents and I made all our payments on time and on schedule according to the student online statement. We even received statements that verified Balance Paid in Full. $23,000 in cash later I completed the degree program and was awarded my BIT.

6 months after my graduation I started to receive numerous letters in the mail from 4 different financial institutions: Sallie Mae, Wells Fargo, Wachovia, Dept of Education: all stating that my grace period was over and that I needed to start paying off my loans. The total amount that I owed lenders for student loans equaled $25,000!!! I called the lenders and told them it must be some bogus mistake because I had paid cash for my tuition and could prove it. I further explained that I never applied or accepted any loans. Their answer was that AIU applied for these loans and accepted them on my behalf. Could they do this I thought? Isn't that illegal? Sure enough I called AIU and they confirmed that they reserve the right to do exactly this. I asked them for details on what the money went to and why wasn't I informed. To date I have received very little information from AIU regarding these hidden fees and extra costs, answers like tuition prices can and will go up or one of your courses was $5,000 because it wasn't listed on the curriculum. My family and I truly feel we were robbed of the cash we spent at AIU and are now being sued for 25K plus interest on terms none of us ever saw or agreed to. How did this degree plan double in cost over one year? No one will give us answers. We want to fight this but we have no idea where to begin. AIU has done nothing about this and I'm now delinquent with various lenders because I refuse to pay for something that I have already paid for out of pocket. One loan has to be paid off in 2 years and ith payments are $199 a month. I simply cannot afford to give AIU another $25,000. AIU has caused a lot of financial and emotional damage to me and my family. AIU is a scam and the truth should be known.

Houston, Texas

This report was posted on Ripoff Report on 06/30/2009 12:31 PM and is a permanent record located here: http://www.ripoffreport.com/reports/aiu-online-american-intercontinental-university/hoffman-estates-illinois-60192/aiu-online-american-intercontinental-university-school-operates-on-fundamentals-of-ident-466417. The posting time indicated is Arizona local time. Arizona does not observe daylight savings so the post time may be Mountain or Pacific depending on the time of year.

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Updates & Rebuttals

#1 Consumer Suggestion

Passing Blame

AUTHOR: Senita - (U.S.A.)

Hi Jessica,

I completely agree with the context of Joe's post. It appears to me that you are blaming the wrong company. When you graduated, your name hit a database. The con artists that sent you those documents were trying to swindle you out of money. In the process of proving your innocence, you probably gave them the information they needed to perform identity theft. It's no different than when you buy a cell phone from Best Buy and you start getting junk mail from Sears and other companies offering homeowner discounts. No one or company can apply for a loan on your behalf.

To others,
A majority of these posts are centered around pushy sales people and financial aid. Here are a couple of tips. First, learn how to say "no" firmly. It's alright to say "No" or to simply hang-up the phone. These so called "advisers" are really sales people just doing their job. Next, apply for your financial aid before you enroll in school. Determine if you can afford it before you even complete your application or send in your application fee.

Know your facts. Learn the different accreditation agencies and what that accreditation means your industry and your career. That does not mean that schools that do not have regional accreditation are rip-offs or a waste of your time. In your industry, it may be all right to have obtained a degree from a school that does not have regional or industry accreditation (i.e. naturopathy, interior design). But if you do attend one of those schools, please, please, please understand that if you do not complete your degree at that school those credits will not roll-over to a school that is accredited.

Enroll in school for the right reasons. Reasons such as career advancement, career change, wanting to make more money, and to finish what your started are all good. Enrolling because you can't find a job is a very wrong reason to enroll in school. Putting yourself in debt because you are bored is ridiculous.

Also, please be careful about what you put in writing. You are bound by your words. I was taught a long time ago to never put my anger in writing; it will come back to get me.

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#2 UPDATE Employee


AUTHOR: Joe - (U.S.A.)

Jessica, I work for AIU Online, and graduated with a bachelors as well... what you're saying doesn't make sense...but I think I have an explanation of what happened. But before I go into what I "think" happened... why don't you call the Financial Aid department and ask them how this all happened: paying cash, and still having loans.

So... first of all, a BIT program is not 22,500... you misread the tuition. On the tuition and fees schedule (which is publicly accessible to anybody at www.aiuonline.edu) it clearly states that the Associate's degree, AABA, is 22,500 + 50 for the app fee. The bachelors for the BIT program is an additional 30,510. During the acceptance process this is clearly explained to every one of our students; it's a requirement that we cover certain pieces of information during the 2nd call you had with your advisor.

So, first of all (continued and concluded), when you're done with AIU Online through an AABA and a BIT (frosh/soph and jr/sr) you will have a total cost of 53,010. So adding your payments plus you loans equals just about that... ????? weird...

2nd of all. We do not let students start until they are "packaged." This means that there has been a plan, explained to the student in detail, and they have completed all of the necessary FA documents. Therefore, like the other posting stated, it is illegal or fraudulant for a University to do what you claimed unless the student has signed the corresponding documents. I would be willing to bet money that I could look them up right now and we would see everything you did; we are an organized university that keeps track of things like that, just in case there is an unjustified confused student that tries to slander our University. In conclusion to "2nd of all" you had to sign documents to start and you did. Those documents still don't give us the right to charge you whatever we want, and we didn't. You took out loans that were necessary for you to graduate.

3rd, I'd like to add for Jessica, and anyone else that's out there, that AIU Online is a regionally accreditted University. There are only 6 regional accrediting bodies in the US. National accreditation is not the same, nor as acceptable at the higher level of education. We were regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS). We were put on probation, we met all the changes that they requested of us, we were then TAKEN OFF OF PROBATION! So we revamped our entire school and processes for the better, and were reviewed and accepted AGAIN! THEN.... (it gets better)... The moajority of our student population switched to the Online campus HQ'd in CHicagoland, and we proactively sought out the North Central Association of the Higher Learning Commission. We were reviewed by them, and accepted by them just this year (2009).

So for any sketics, please be reassured that AIU Online is the most integritous, prestigious, quality Online University out there. I would challenge you to research and try and find a school that is willing to hold your hand when you need it, call you back every time, provide the service that you expect and more, etc. Try to see if AIU Online isn't worth it... I think you'll find yourself surprised at how great of a school AIU Online is.

To Jessica,

I'm sorry if this message seems a little harsh. I'm sorry that things were lost in communication. This is not the usual for AIU Online. BUT! Please know, and be reassured that you were not charged "double", we didn't take your money and run, we didn't scam you. You paid for and earned a BIT from AIU Online, and your cost is the same as it was for anybody (probably less than most other schools). We made it possible for you to have a bachelor's degree, and I'm sorry if it wasn't explained properly. But please do research, ask questions, use our Financial Aid Department department before you make posts like this again, because this is very tarnishing to prospective students that we are trying to help. Thank you.
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#3 Consumer Suggestion


AUTHOR: Jeanski - (U.S.A.)

A school cannot accept a federal student loan on your behalf. You have to sign a promissory note, and complete both an entrance and exit counseling process verifying that you understand the conditions of the loan. Assuming you did not do any of this, it is a clear case of fraud. Please contact a lawyer!! You can also call the alleged lender of the loan and ask them to prove that you signed for it. This is clearly a case of fraud.
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