Report: #592424

Complaint Review: South University Online

  • Submitted: Mon, April 12, 2010
  • Updated: Sun, January 22, 2012
  • Reported By: student — Cary Illinois United States of America
  • South University Online

    United States of America

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On the third day of my graduate-level class, I realized the instructor was unable to compose a grammatically correct sentence, much less instruct. I contacted my 'new student advisor' to drop the course. Long story short, my advisors strung along the withdrawal process to well beyond the drop date. I informed my financial advisor that I planned to appeal any tuition charges. She told me (in a phone conversation....this is significant, as I will explain later) that my student loan could not be accessed for a course I did not complete; in other words, I would be responsible for any charges, not my lender. This was good news to me, as it is certainly easier to appeal charges that have not yet been paid! Several weeks later, I reviewed my student loan account. South had charged me over $1000 for tuition, and had been paid by my lender. I then contacted accounting regarding my appeal (which they had ignored, probably figuring I would not notice the charges to my loan and would not pursue the appeal), and explained what my financial aid advisor had told me. Because I did not have this information IN WRITING, it was not admissible as supporting information for my appeal. I am still trying to have my tuition refunded.

This is a portion of my complaint sent to South:
As a graduate student, I was assigned a team of advisors whose purpose is to provide accurate information and assistance. The very definition of advisor invokes an expectation of trust and competence. My advising team failed horribly in upholding the trust I placed in them, as well as the University failing horribly at providing a quality educational experience. I embarked on the journey of graduate education with enthusiasm, and I expended a great deal of time and effort to make the experience all I hoped it would be. I am currently participating in another online graduate program that has more than met my expectations. My experience with South University was discouraging to say the least. I would expect the University be apologetic and quite honestly, embarrassed by the poor quality of education, the betrayal of the trust I placed in my advising team, as well as the handling of my complaint. A refund of tuition is a small and very reasonable request, and is the only outcome I will consider acceptable.

 My advice; if you are a student at South get EVERYTHING in writing. Do not trust your advising team; they will mislead you. I have since enrolled at Kaplan University, and could not be happier.

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#1 General Comment

I agree with your advice

AUTHOR: Beth RN - (United States of America)

I keep reading about so many students having trouble with SUO in regards to loans, grants, financial aid, etc. I was not in that position when I chose to pursue my graduate studies at SUO. I paid for my courses as I took them, and received my MSN in 2009.
However, I did have my share of difficulties with advisors not knowing what they were talking about, and conflicting information as well. I learned early on, get it all in writing. I have a whole stack of emails, with my efforts to get one or another issue clarified. 
So, even though I did earn my degree at South, your last comments are quite valid.

 "My advice; if you are a student at South get EVERYTHING in writing". Well said.

 All prospective students would do well to heed your advice, and my experience. All in all, I ended up with an excellent experience and education from SUO. I just wish others would have had the same.
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#2 General Comment

Personal Responsibility?

AUTHOR: Beth RN - (United States of America)

So I see.... "The University failing horribly at providing a quality educational experience"?  And, "I expended a great deal of time and effort to make the experience all I hoped it would be"? Within 3 days you made this determination and gave up?  You decided to withdrawal from the course (and the school) rather than inquire about a different class. Wonderful, stellar effort.

 Now you complain because you neglected to get any of your financial aid records and information in writing? Excuse me, I'm not a legal or business major, but even I have all my records in writing!

Your mistakes. Seems like you're expending all your time and effort now, rather than initially when you could have.

I stand by my experience with South University. The 900 or so graduates that I attended ceremonies with this past December, probably do too. We all made it. Financial strain and all.

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#3 General Comment

Hello, did you do your own research in regards to financial aid?

AUTHOR: Beth RN - (United States of America)

Maybe you should have investigated further as to all the details about financial aid. That way, you wouldn't have been in the position of dropping a course so quickly. Graduate school takes some perserverance, you know.

If you were unhappy with your teacher you could have switched to another section.....rather than giving up! The vast majority of my teachers were knowleagable and helpful. The one time I found myself in a section with a facilitator I couldn't relate to, I simply asked to be assigned to a different class! It took all of one email, and a quick call to my advisor.

I have very little sympathy for someone who not only doesn't do his homework first......and is obviously willing to throw in the towel at the first sign of difficulty! Consider your minimal financial loss a lesson well learned.

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#4 Author of original report


AUTHOR: student - (United States of America)

If you have a graduate degree, I would assume you could read; however, if you earned your degree at South this should probably not be expected. My complaint stated that AFTER I expressed my intent to drop, my advisors strung along the withdrawal process until I owed tuition charges. If I intended to leave the school, and made these intentions clear, why would I request a new advisor?
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#5 General Comment

Ask for a different advisor?

AUTHOR: Beth RN - (United States of America)

If you're in grad school, I can only assume you're an adult. Stop whining! I attended SUO's grad school, too. If I had any questions or concerns, my advisor was there to help or put me in contact with someone else. All I had to do was ask.

When I needed/wanted to negotiate how I wanted to pay in installments for one of the longer classes......I was put in contact with financial aid. My concerns were resolved within 2 days.

I looked at Kaplan's program as well. Their program would have taken me months longer to complete, and was much more expensive. They wouldn't give me credit for previous work in grad school, either. SUO did.

As far as my experience goes? SUO was a reasonable choice and not too expensive. I found attending the school an absolute pleasure. I am still in contact with several of my professors and many classmates. I met and celebrated with more than half of them at graduation ceremonies this past December.

I am now a very well prepared Nurse Educator. Thanks, South University!

MSN, 2009

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