Report: #915226

Complaint Review: American Public University

  • Submitted: Fri, July 20, 2012
  • Updated: Wed, August 15, 2012
  • Reported By: Phil — Arcata California United States of America
  • American Public University
    111 West Congress Street Charles Town, WV 25414
    United States of America

American Public University amu, apu, american military university, Delays in sending me my share of my financial aid finally made attendance impossible, by end of my first semester. Internet

*Author of original report: American Public University finally sent me my student financial aid check. Better late than never!

*Author of original report: Thanks for the tip!

*Consumer Comment: On Federal Aid

*Author of original report: Read APU's own rules. Oh, and you have a great day, too.

*Consumer Comment: comment

Show customers why they should trust your business over your competitors...

I enrolled at American Public University as a full-time, first-year student persuing a Bachelor's degree, in March, 2012. I completed my FAFSA, registered for classes and completed the admissions process in March 2012. Classes started May 7, 2012, and I jumped right in, thinking this was going to be great!

June 5, I sent an e-mail to their financial aid department, asking when I might expect to receive my share of the $6,047 they had received from DOE for me. My courses cost a total of $3,000, so I should have had over $3,000 coming to me. June 18, I received a check in the amount of $1,022. I sent another e-mail, asking about the remaining $2,000+ I had been expecting.

I explained that I was counting on that money, to pay for rent, electricity, internet connection, etc., and a couple of days later, I
received an e-mail informing me that because I had dropped one of my classes during the first week, replacing it with another course which was to begin the next month,(in June), I waould have to wait until the second week of July, to get my money. My landlady was not at all happy with the bad news, but she trusted me, like I trusted APU.

Today is July 20, and still no check. My landlady could not afford to pay her mortgage with a free-loader for a tennant, so I had to move in with my brother and his family. If I had only known how dearly it would cost me, I would never have enrolled at this internet scam site, cleverly disguised as a university. I dropped all of my classes yesterday, only 9 days from the end of the semester. After losing my home and internet connection, (and a whole lot more than just that!) I had been going to the local Starbuck's, to use their free wifi connection, to do my school work.

The last straw came yesyerday, Friday, July 19, 2012. I received an e-mail telling me that I could expect their financial aid department to finish calculating my financial aid disbursement within the next 44 days!! At the end of the message was the remark: "Have a great weekend!!" Immediately, I dropped all classes for this semester and the next. Screw those ripoff scam artist frauds at American Public University, and the donkeys their mothers rode in on!!!

- Phil
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#1 Author of original report

American Public University finally sent me my student financial aid check. Better late than never!

AUTHOR: Phil - (United States of America)

   I just wanted to be fair, by updating my complaint to include the news that I just received my financial aid check yesterday, for the full amount I was owed, so that has been a big relief, financially. It was still slow in coming, but at least I finally did receive it, so I just want to set the record straight on that point. This is perfect timing, so that I can now pay my tuition for the fall semester at my local community college. American Public University, as I mentioned before in my original post, is a terrific program. It was never the school's instructors or curriculum I ever had any problem with. Just their financial aid department at APU/AMU. They need to work on that a bit.

   Thank you for your support, all who read my complaint, and all who took the time to respond. I appreciate it, and I am fairly certain that APU keeps an eye on this site, at least occasionally. So thank you all, and THANK YOU, RIPOFF REPORT!! 

    -Phil in California; Signing off
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#2 Author of original report

Thanks for the tip!

AUTHOR: Phil - (United States of America)

Hey, thanks for the tip, I will definitely check that out. I do not know if I will have to pay the DOE back for the money already paid out to American Public University first (boy, that rubs me the wrong way!!) but I am determined to get my degree, so I suppose I will do it, if I must. Thanks again, for the info, and my advice to you: RUN!! American Public University's Financial Aid Department makes it way too difficult to justify any further dealings, with that school. American Public University needs to get it together, and treat their students fairly, if they are to survive. It's too bad, too. The courses were really good.
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#3 Consumer Comment

On Federal Aid

AUTHOR: Consumer Advocate - (United States of America)

You are absolutely right, about having earned the aid disbursed for those classes. By going nearly all the way through the semester, you have indeed, earned the use of those funds. The sad part is that you walked away owing the US DOE for something that you paid for which was of no use to you. In that you did not even get the credits for those courses; and even worse your permanent record will reflect these withdrawals. While it may not affect your GPA, it will certainly affect your completion rate.

I am in the loop right now with this hellish School, and am already facing issues with the Financial Aid department. I am still in time however,  to accept the offer made to me by another school that I had applied to. I am suppose to start at APU in August, but I am having serious doubts about this school and their methods.

Namely, I take issue with the fact that they will not allocate the financial aid that you are eligible to receive, e.g., I am a Junior, and am an Independent student, which makes me eligible for $12,500 per academic year. But, according to their archaic adaptation of the COA formulas, I am only eligible for less than half of this amount, they do not properly compute the cost of attendance according to a student's real needs. It almost seems that they do not want to disburse these funds for some personal reasons. In order to get any increase you have to file for some Professional Judgement just to get more of your own money. What is all that about? 

That lousy book grant that they carry on about does not carry any true weight, certainly not as much as  they would like to believe, they only allocated $828.00 for my Room and Board allotment. I can not live with this. While I know that the aid is not intended to pay my rent completely, it is certainly intended to assist me with this expense.

I think I am going to move on, as I can not let this school get in the way of my prospective advantage. Let me share a recommendation with you on a great school, Fort Hays State University!!! They have a great Virtual College, with great degree programs-but get this their tuition is only $178.00 per credit hour. What's more they disburse your aid 14 days prior to the start of class-Check em out! God Speed!
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#4 Author of original report

Read APU's own rules. Oh, and you have a great day, too.

AUTHOR: Phil - (United States of America)

Yeah, I checked that out. Luckily for me, it looks like you are mistaken this time. And of course I did not go into this, thinking "I know!... How about I can sign up for college, and all of my financial woes will be history!"  Come on, now. The truth is that things happened which I had not foreseen, and I thought "Thank goodness at least my student aid check will be here any day, to save the day." Stuff happens, you know?

Here is a cut-and-paste brief, from APU's own website, regarding the handling of student aid funds, in the event of a full withdrawal. As I said before, the current semester ends next week, anyway, and I withdrew from all of my classes a couple of days ago. :
Withdrawal from the University:

If a student withdraws or is administratively withdrawn from the University, financial aid may be adjusted based on the percentage of the semester they completed. A portion of the funds may be returned to the Department of Education.

Up through the 60% point in each payment period or period of enrollment, a pro rata schedule is used to determine how much FSA Program funds the student has earned at the time of withdrawal.

After the 60% point in the payment period or period of enrollment, a student has earned 100% of the FSA Program funds.

The percentage of the payment period or period of enrollment completed is determined by the total number of calendar days in the payment period or period of enrollment for which the assistance is awarded.

There you go! Trust me, I earned that money. Every last dime of it. Thank you, though, for your concern. I mean that sincerely, now.

To be fair, now, I would like to apologize, for calling the school a fraud. In all honesty, I really enjoyed my classes, especially the
Physical Geography course. It was never the coursework or the instructors I ever had any problem with. I just wanted to make that clear. Yesterday, I was mad as hell at all things, APU. Today, however, I am calmer and able to be more reasonable.

And I still say the Financial Aid Department at American Public University really lowered my regard for their entire establishment, and if the powers that be, and the company's shareholders are paying any attention to the buzz out here, they know that it's a problem!! Not just for myself, but look around on the internet, and you will see one after another student, complaining about this one same issue. ...HELLO!!!   There is a whole lot of dissatisfaction out here, with the Fin Aid Dept. at APU! Obviously, they are aware, so the next question must be "Why don't they do something about it?"

Yep, the deal-breaker for me was the snarky, "who gives a hoot" attitude of the Financial Aid Department personnel, at American Public University.
If they have such a problem with the part of their job that involves disbursing the students' shares of our financial aid monies, then perhaps they should seek more gratifying employment, in another field.


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#5 Consumer Comment


AUTHOR: Jeanski - (USA)

Your circumstances are unfortunate, and I hate it that you have to give your educational pursuits.  That being said, your case reflects some common misunderstandings about how financial aid works and I think you're in for even more unpleasant surprises.

Financial aid awards are computed and paid on based on attendance in a given semester.  Online schools, in particular, have unusual semester dates (as compared to the standard August-December and January-May) because of their accelerated nature.

When you dropped your first class, it changed how your aid was computed, and they were well within their rights to re-compute it based on moving the class to the next term.

But when you "dropped" your classes right before the end of the semester you screwed the pooch.  There is a difference between "dropping" and "withdrawing".  Classes can typically be "dropped" only within the very small window of time during the first week of class.  After that, "dropping" is actually a "withdrawal" and has serious financial aid implications. What you've done is "withdraw", meaning that your transcript will reflect grades of "withdrawal", and possibly "withdrawal-fail" since you didn't finish the courses.  Once you withdraw, your financial aid for that semester is re-computed.  Since you withdrew completely, APU will send back your ALL student aid, and will bill YOU for those classes.

This is perfectly legal and legitimate, and the way it's done at every college in the country.

Students should never count on financial aid to support them for the basics like rent and utilities. It's just too unpredictable and complicated.

I'm sorry this happened to you. Perhaps you can start over at a local community college, where tuition is much cheaper.

In this case, the ripoff isn't a ripoff. It's just a sad case of not understanding how aid works.

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