Report: #8207

Complaint Review: Al Collins Graphic Design School

  • Submitted: Tue, November 27, 2001
  • Updated: Fri, March 21, 2008
  • Reported By: Pine Grove CA
  • Al Collins Graphic Design School
    Tempe, Arizona

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I was accepted at Al Collins before I finished High school, I was told that I would have to take out a loan each term for roughly $2,500. I figured I would owe like maybe 10,000 at the most. BUT after attending for five weeks they had already forced me to take out 4 loans for more than $2,500 each. After AL Collins I was homeless for about 2 years.

I am finally back on my feet as a secretery in Pine Grove, California. I feel that I was cheated and there is no way on my current pay that I could pay that money back. I got nothing but problems from that school. After attending there for a year, I needed some time off because my boyfriend had commited suicide.

I was gone for 5 weeks but not fully recuperated yet, but because I didn't come back at that time, I was kicked out. Now they say that I owe them over $25,000. There is no way I could pay it. I thought they were going to help me find a job. If there is an ongoing case against this school, I would love to be a part of it, otherwise I am going to have to file for bankruptcy at the age of 20.Another thing is that I was told that they were going to provide a place for me to live, and that was in my tuition, but they put me in a 2 bedroom apartment with 4 other people and told me I had to pay $295 a month to live there. All my roomates paid the same amount.

They made about $500 a month off every group of students. Apartments around Tempe are only like $400-$500 a month. Where did all that money go? I was ripped off bad and I want them to be paid back. I had to work nights every night after school and barely made my rent, minimum wage is $5.15 in Arizona.
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This report was posted on Ripoff Report on 11/27/2001 12:00 AM and is a permanent record located here: 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. Ripoff Report has an exclusive license to this report. It may not be copied without the written permission of Ripoff Report. READ: Foreign websites steal our content

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#1 UPDATE EX-employee responds

no one is entitled to success - YOU have to work d**n hard to earn it

AUTHOR: Patterson6780 - (U.S.A.)

Why is it in America that young adults thing they're entitled to success? Does anyone learn how to work hard and earn the American dream these days? I guess I'm thankful that I had to earn my way at a very young age. That is why I am successful today.

I attended Collins College in 2000 after graduating with an AA from a university in Wyoming (hello - in-state tuition is cheap). After graduating, I wanted to earn my BA from a school that could get me in and out in less than 2 years. I had a goal in mind. Collins College was that school and it gave me the tools to succeed - plus I graduated with my BA with honors in 13 months just after turning 21. My instructors weren't the best or brightest - hello, if they were they wouldn't be at Collins College - but they were good enough. I took their notes and attended the field trips - I learned enough and there were a few inspirational moments along the way.

Some of the students made it. Most don't and that's the students own fault. Most of my peers didn't work hard at all. They barely could make it to class. Most where too interested in partying, getting high, and clubbing and didn't take their education seriously. Most didn't even have jobs! And honestly some just didn't have any talent.

This school never GAVE me or placed me with a job. I went out and got THE job I wanted. I designed my portfolio, compiled my resume and learned how to nail an interview - all with the help of their program. Oh, and by the way, I also moved to Tempe from Wyoming with a paid internship of $12/hour working for a large non-profit on 44th St and Camelback. I worked full time and went to school. I left school every day at noon and drove to my job where I was a graphic design intern working under a team of professional designers - I worked till 6pm every night. I didn't have class on Friday, so I worked 9-5 every Friday. Our team worked on ad campaigns for PetSmart, Microsoft, Purina, Home Depot, BP, and Kodak. That opportunity was where I learned to be a real graphic designer. That's what it takes to get a real job.

Right off the bat, I didn't like my student housing that I was set up with, so I went to the housing director right away. After working with them, I did get back my housing deposit. I moved into a very nice apartment just 3 miles from school. I lived with two family friends, who were both working professionals, and I paid $350/month in rent and utilities - I did get lucky with that.

I took out the necessary Sallie Mae student loans since I had to pay my own way, and was fully aware of what I would owe after I graduated. All I had to do was read the fine print. Plus I had already taken out loans prior for my first 2 years. I also earned a few scholarships along the way. Knowing what I would owe, I got that paid internship and started paying my loans back while I was in school - $300/month to be exact. I also only used half of my materials and supplies money and was repaid $1,400 from Collins College upon graduation. I put that money down on my loans!

I never expected Collins College to take care of me. Yes, I expected to learn something, which I did, but the internship is what got me where I am today, oh and common sense accompanied by a strong work ethic and an appreciation for hard work. You losers apparently don't have a concept of this. You all feel so entitled. As if success is a right and not a privilege anymore.

Less than 4 years later and after a graphic design job that only paid me $30,000 a year, which by the way is a normal wage for a fresh-out-of-school-designer for those of you who are expecting to get paid $60,000 - engineers don't even make that out of school, I left the agency I worked with for over 3 years, an agency that helped get me where I am today, and started working as a free lance designer making $75/hour for myself. At 27 years of age I'm currently making over $105,000 a year as a designer and photographer - getting published in many national magazines. I wrote a check for $14,000 3 years ago and paid of my loans. I saved and saved and saved until I could accomplish that.

The bottom line here is that most you don't have a strong work ethic or realistic expectations. If you tried doing something for yourself, did your loan research, read the fine print, make some sacrifices, work very hard - you might make it in life. Don't expect Collins College to do it for you. They're not babysitters or your parents - your an ADULT NOW. They offer industry standard curriculum and the tools to go out ON YOUR OWN and succeed. You must have the work ethic and talent to make it as a designer. No one is going to do it for you.

I'm telling you. If you can put forth the effort, your dreams will come true. It's never easy but the rewards I'm reaping today are well worth the many years of effort I gave.
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#2 UPDATE Employee


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

Please, please look into the reality of what you're doing BEFORE you start at Collins College, in Tempe and Phoenix AZ. And do NOT take the word of any admissions personnel, they will tell you what you want to hear, not the bottom-line truth. The truth is that if you graduate with a BA degree, you've spent MORE THAN $60,000.00 -- NOT INCLUDING INTEREST!!!

Your federal Stafford Loans, which is the lower interest loans, are the least of what you had to borrow. An average tuition rate (including supplies) for a FIRST-YEAR student is about $23k. TUITION ONLY per academic year is close to $15k--multiply that times 4 academic years, and add in thousands more for supplies!! Students can borrow Federal Funding (Stafford Loans) for only $3500 their first year; $4500 their second year, and $5500 third and fourth academic years. Take $3500 from $23,000 and see how much in high-interest loans you now have to borrow!!! It is usually $12k and higher, and you have to pay interest starting as low as 14% and as high as . . . well, it goes into the 20 percentile and higher.

I URGE ALL CONSUMERS TO LOOK AT WHAT YOU WILL MAKE WHEN YOU GRADUATE WITH A BA DEGREE!! I beg you to look into this before you get yourself into a lifetime of debt or the necessity for bankruptcy. The AVERAGE BA STUDENT MAKES $10 TO $12 PER HOUR after graduation. The SAME student must pay an average of $800 to $1,000 PER MONTH on student loans for to up to 25 years!! Even if your Federal Loans are consolidated, unless you had the good fortune of your parents paying for everything, this will be your average debt.

SO HOW DOES THIS BENEFIT STUDENTS? It doesn't. Kids see the promise of being able to work on video games for the rest of their lives and get paid for it. The promise of a "fun" job, doing what you want for your life. That sounds great -- but is it realistic? The few that make a lot of money are likened to the few people who go to Hollywood and actually "make it." It is NOT the general population that gets somewhere - it is NOT the general population at Collins College who makes it into any popular films or videos. The percentage of students who "make it" and realize their dreams is painfully low.

It's sad when, on a daily basis, I see students come in to do their "exit interviews" and leave crying. It's a happy time when you get your BA Degree, right?? NOT when you just find out you payments are triple what your income will be on student loans alone. I URGE ALL CONSUMERS TO REALLY LOOK AT WHAT YOU'RE GETTING IN TO AT COLLINS COLLEGE!!!
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#3 Consumer Comment

A little late, but the anger is the same.

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

I experienced very similar circumstances, and I too was a victim of the "student housing" situation for a short while til I found cheaper housing on my own.

As far as being able to go back. I found myself in an emergency situation and tried to take the so-called leave-of-absence. I was immediately dropped from enrollment and told i would have to go in front of the board and reapply. (I was later told that the school had over-enrolled and that was the reason for my termination.)

Despite being dropped from enrollment, they still managed to take a majority of my student loan and grants and even charged me for approx. $700.00 worth of supplies for the quarter which I had never received. Since then, my loan has been double-charged and shuffled from one company to another. It seems like I will never get this taken care of, no matter who I call or how hard I try. My credit rating will never be the same. And I have nothing to show for the money, the time or the effort I put into it.

Please please please, if you're considering this school, don't.
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#4 Consumer Suggestion

You weren't cheated

AUTHOR: J - ()

You weren't cheated out of anything. Collins would not have dropped you for taking 5 or 10 weeks off of school. All you had to do was go into the office and let them know you couldn't attend and they would have put you ona leave of absence and you could have come back when you were ready wherever you left off in the program. It sounds to me like your personal life interfered with your schooling and you can't blame them for that. As for the price of housing, we were made aware of the price before entering into the contract and in it's own way is beneficial to students. If you are moving from out-of-state, you do not have to worry about buying furniture or finding reliable roommates because your cost is always the same.

Where did you find an apartment for $400-$500? The Ghetto?

Almost everyone I know works full-time, and none of them work for min. wage. That is your problem not the school.

Life sucks, build a bridge and get over it.
You need to learn how to regulate your problems and your responsiblities so you don't end up homeless and with a suicidal boyfriend. That's all I have to say about that.

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#5 0

AUTHOR: - ()

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