Melinda has an MBA from Kaplan University, and has enough business sense to know that she shouldn’t have to pay debts that aren’t hers in the first place. The for-profit college, part of the Washington Post Company, has decided that she owes them more than $3,000 even though her tuition was long ago paid with federal financial aid. No one can show her a detailed breakdown of the bill, or explain why no one noticed that she owed the money until months after graduation. Update: Kaplan has since resolved Melinda’s problem.
I attended Kaplan University from approximately January 2008-March 2010 and received my MBA (with a 4.0 GPA I might add). About 3 months after I graduated, I received a call from a collections agency stating that I owed $3310.56 and that Kaplan University had sent my balance to collections. I disputed this as I had never received a bill from Kaplan University nor had I recieved any phone calls stating I had an outstanding balance. I received federal financial aid that was supposed to cover 100% of my tuition.
I had to call the school no less than 15-20 times and left many, many messages, but received no call back. When I was finally able to get someone on the line, they were unable to explain why I had a bill or the dollar amount, but just said I owed the money due to an overpayment of stipends. Upon additional questioning, I was always told that they needed to transfer me to someone else. At that point, I was either disconnected, transferred to a VM (and never received a call back), or transferred to another person who would be unable to give me an answer.
I have never to date, received a statement showing the breakdown of the $3310.56. I tried for several months to work through this within Kaplan, but was never able to get it resolved. In August 2010 I filed a report with the Better Business Bureau. At this point, Kaplan was unable to deny any longer that they had made a mistake with my financial aid (a point that they would never admit to me over the phone). They still stated I owed the money, but did not give a breakdown of where this dollar amount came from. They agreed to cut the bill in half. To be clear, I have never stated I would not pay a bill that I owe. I just won’t pay a bill that has no backup or justifcation behind it.
If Kaplan is able to show me why I owe the money, I am willing to immediately pay the bill. A woman named “[redacted]” contacted me and I agreed that if I could see backup for this amount that I would pay it. I asked that someone contact me with this information and to let me know where to send the payment. No one ever contacted me. This was back in March 2011.
I contacted [redacted] again today requesting this information as I have not heard or seen anything from Kaplan University since this call, and she stated she was not able to explain to me “in layman’s terms” why I owe this money, but that she would have someone from financial aid call me. [redacted] from “financial aid” called me an hour later and said he was unable to explain the dollar amount of $3310.56 and that it was too much work for him to go through all the statements. He then stated that he was just told to call me and didn’t have the informaiton I was looking for.
He then stated “why don’t you just admit you don’t want to pay what you owe”. At this point I became angry and asked for his supervisor. I was not yelling, or swearing, but was clearly agitated and explaining to him that this dispute has been going on for almost 2 years and I am frustrated that no one from Kaplan can answer my questions and I continually being transferred around and it is frustrating.
He then hung up on me while I was speaking. At this point, I just want to warn other consumers that Kaplan University has terrible customer service and very questionable financial aid practices.
Where did the phantom three grand go? Saying that going through actual statements is “too much work” and just demanding that a former student pay up without asking questions seems like poor form for an institution that’s was supposed to teach that student business skills. If financial aid fell through for a semester, she should never should have been allowed to graduate.
The U.S. Department of Education and the education department in Melinda’s state may be able to help her. To make the debt collectors go away, try the methods in these posts:
Update: A representative of Kaplan wrote in to let us know that they’ve resolved Melinda’s issue. We verified this with Melinda, and it is true.