Back in April of 2007 I signed up with Keiser College's Ecampus to earn my Associates in Science degree in computers and networks. When I signed up, I was told that earning the two-year degree would only take 20 months (I still recall how she said, "How does that sound to you?" Of course, my reply was, "Great!"). I was also told that the approximate cost would be around $20K plus textbooks. That sounded reasonable.
The first year, I applied for financing in April and then again in August. Each time was around $6,000 which seemed to be on track with what I was told ($12,000 for the first year, $12,000 second year...$24K was pretty close to what I expected). Then they started called me every three months to redo my financing. I looked over my schedule and noticed that it wasn't going to be done in 20 months, but 24 months. It didn't shock me, but I did ask my financial advisor why the extra 4 months and she said the computer degree actually takes a couple extra classes. I was okay with that but something wasn't adding up with the tuition. After numerous emails and many weeks, I finally got the low-down on my tuition. It wasn't going to be $20K or $24K, I was up to $30K and they still wanted an additional $12K!!
When I confronted my financial advisor and said, "Something is really wrong with these figures." She said that an academic year was 8 months at a cost of around $14K, but the degree I was going for (an A.S. degree in computers) was actually three full academic years (yeah, $14K per year for 3 years is $42K!). What? Who in the world is going to pay for 3 years of college to earn a two-year degree?
I don't qualify for grants. I'm one of those folks that fall between the cracks. My husband and I (with 3 kids) both work full-time and make too for much for government grants, but really can't afford to be taken to the cleaners by the college.
My financial advisor suggested contacting my Academic Advisor...he wouldn't return any of my emails. She finally got me in touch with the Dean of the school who said she would look into it and call me back. Guess what? Yeah, that's right--she didn't call me back. I got some nasty messages from someone in Financial Aid that I wouldn't be able to continue my classes if I didn't pay up. After more emails to my financial advisor (who was actually a nice person), I get a conference phone call from the Dean, the person who had left me the messages and the person who is apparently is over the Financial department. They say there is nothing they can do...I pay up another $12K or I don't get my degree (which I'm only four months away from finishing--with an "A" average, made the dean's list twice, international honor society, etc.).
What really ticked me off was the person who had left me the messages (who appears to be like their little mafia person) kept saying every time I pointed out that this was supposed to be a two year degree, "Well, you started in April of 2007 and you're finishing in April 2009...that's two years!" No joke? Really? Then why am I paying for three academic years of school for a two-academic-year degree? She just kept saying I had a problem understanding the difference between academic years and calendar years. If she was getting socked with this bill, she'd be the one with the 'understanding' problem. They said I had to send them an email stating that I agreed with the charges or they couldn't let me start my next class (a few days away). I sent them a statement that I agreed under duress. I get an email, "You can't say that...you will have to send us another email and remove the part about 'under duress.' "
I've emailed the Better Business Bureau and now Rip-Off Reports. Potential Students Beware: Things are not what they seem at this school!!!