Complaint / review text:
I am writing this complaint because Ashford University is holding my Bachelor's degree hostage because they feel I owe them money for the last class that I took. I have continuously had problems with this school and with being able to reach the people that are supposed to help me and answer my questions. I took my last class and was done with it by December 3,2012, completing the Bachelor of Arts program. I received an email on 12/12/12 informing me that my diploma could not be released because there was a balance on my account. I looked into my account balance and it showed that I owed the school $2,199.00 (this includes my $150 graduation fee).
When I called the school and asked to speak to my academic advisor, Michelle, she was unavailable, so I left her a message for her to call me back. This is my second issue with this school. Every single time I attempt to call or email Michelle or anyone who is supposed to answer questions, no one is available and no one returns calls or emails. I was called a couple weeks later by someone inquiring on my experience at Ashford. I informed them of my problem and my inability to get a hold of anyone or have any of my calls/emails returned. She informed me that she would look into the matter and call me back. When she called me back, she stated that I would need to talk to someone in the Financial Aid Department. I spoke to a couple of different people in the Financial Aid Department and got a lot of different information.
Finally, I spoke to Jessica from Student Records who informed me that my last class was not paid for because the Financial Aid Department failed to fill out the proper paperwork to have my funds released to the school and have my last class paid for. My last class was $2,049.00. I called the Financial Aid Department at Ashford and asked why this was not done, and to have them fill out the paperwork to have the funds released and get that last class paid for so that I can get my degree. I was told that I am no longer an active student with Ashford because I am done with school, so they can't do anything or fill any paperwork out to have the funds released. I was told that I needed to be an active student. I asked if they could re-instate me long enough to have the paperwork filled out so that this could get resolved and they told me that I would have to be enrolled in a class in order to do that. Financial aid wanted to transfer me to my academic advisor, Michelle, to discuss the matter with her. I informed them that I am never able to get a hold of her or have her return any of my calls or emails. I asked if I could speak to Michelle's supervisor. I was transferred to her supervisor who, of course, was not available. I left a message but was never called back. The situation was never resolved.
A couple of weeks later, I was contacted by a collection agency informing me that Ashford has sent me to their agency to collect my debt. I contacted the agency and asked them if they could put their collection on hold while I tried to resolve the issue. I was told that Ashford sent me to them to try to collect a debt and they wouldn't put anything on hold. They told me to contact Ashford to try to resolve the issue. I attempted to call my academic advisor again and got her voicemail again; only this time I couldn't leave a message because her mailbox was full. My mother has even tried to contact Michelle and Financial Aid via email, only to have an automated email response from Michelle stating she would get back as soon as possible for her. Financial Aid also responded, stating if we had any questions regarding my account balance or charges to my account, that I needed to contact my academic advisor.
Not only is it impossible to get a hold of anyone, but no one is willing to help or answer any questions. I was also informed by Financial Aid that I did not elect to receive the full amount of financial aid when I signed my paperwork in the beginning. They stated that the entire time at Ashford, my loan amounts were not enough to cover my classes. I asked for a copy of those documents and have not received anything.