Preface – We like that global aspect of Dissident Voice, but if you have been a reader and fan, like I have, you can see that local politics equals global implications. What one little college in California — for instance, Sonoma State – brings to us is the world in microcosm, one illustrating the universal truth of showing us we are all in the mighty grips of ADMIN class of species and the politics of corporations ruling the education roots. Typical nonsense by the people in the One Percent and their 29 Percenter sycophants:
After four years of teaching various humanities courses at Sonoma State University in Northern California, I’m sad to report that our school sank to a new low on May 12 by awarding the notorious banker Sandy Weill and his wife Joan honorary doctorates. The retired CEO of Citigroup, once the world’s largest bank, purchased them for $12 million. He gave that ill-gotten money to the Green Music Center, an essentially non-educational pet project of President Ruben Arminana, which recently has dominated fund-raising at SSU.
“These awards by SSU are reprehensible in light of Sandy Weill’s role in bringing about the economic crisis that has seized this nation,” said SSU sociology professor Noel Byrne. “The consequences have been dire for the SSU community of faculty, staff, students, graduates, alumni and their families, in the form of elevated tuition, reduced funding for education, auctioned homes, dashed dreams, burdensome debts, loss of employment opportunities, and resultant tragedies of an array of sorts.”
Preface (continued)–So , it goes without saying that the University of Phoenix is a model tied to transnational money, and those privatizers currying the favor of politicians who have been handsomely paid to help swing the wrecking ball that has crushed democracy and public goods, public commons, public intellectual, spiritual and physical space are the ENEMY. From Thomas Frank’s The Wrecking Crew, a book but an article in Harper’s:
The correct diagnosis is the “bad apple” thesis turned upside down. There are plenty of good conservative individuals, honorable folks who would never participate in the sort of corruption we have watched unfold over the past few years. Hang around with grassroots conservative voters in Kansas, and in the main you will find them to be honest, hardworking people.
But put conservatism in charge of the state, and it behaves very differently. Now the “values” that rightist politicians eulogize on the stump disappear, and in their place we can discern an entirely different set of priorities—priorities that reveal more about the unchanging historical essence of American conservatism than do its fleeting campaigns against gay marriage or secular humanism. The conservatism that speaks to us through its actions in Washington is institutionally opposed to those baseline good intentions we learned about in elementary school. Its leaders laugh off the idea of the public interest as airy-fairy nonsense; they caution against bringing top-notch talent into government service; they declare war on public workers. They have made a cult of outsourcing and privatizing, they have wrecked established federal operations because they disagree with them, and they have deliberately piled up an Everest of debt in order to force the government into crisis. The ruination they have wrought has been thorough; it has been a professional job. Repairing it will require years of political action.
Fantastic misgovernment is not an accident, nor is it the work of a few bad individuals. It is the consequence of triumph by a particular philosophy of government, by a movement that understands the liberal state as a perversion and considers the market the ideal nexus of human society. This movement is friendly to industry not just by force of campaign contributions but by conviction; it believes in entrepreneurship not merely in commerce but in politics; and the inevitable results of its ascendance are, first, the capture of the state by business and, second, what follows from that: incompetence, graft, and all the other wretched flotsam that we’ve come to expect from Washington.
There is so much money in conservatism these days that Karl Rove rightly boasts, “We can now go to students at Harvard and say, ‘There is now a secure retirement plan for Republican operatives.’” The young people who, like Jack Abramoff before them, have answered conservatism’s call over the past three decades were obeying their conscience, perhaps, but they were also making a canny career move.
Canny career moves are just about all we can expect from conservative government these days: tax breaks for wealthy benefactors, wars started and maintained for the benefit of American industry, fat contracts granted to the clients of the right consultant. Like Bush and Reagan before him, John McCain is a self-proclaimed outsider, but should he win in November he will merely bring us more of the same: an executive branch fed by, if not actually made up of, lobbyists and other angry, righteous profiteers. Washington itself will remain what it has been—not a Babylon that corrupts our pure-hearted right-wingers but the very seat of their Industry Conservatism, constantly seething and effervescing, with tens of thousands of individuals coming and going, each avidly piling up his own tidy pile but between them engaged in an awesome common project.
Take a step back, reader, and see what they have wrought.
Preface (continued)–So, this story about “the Phoenix” is tied to abusive thinking about students, about people in need of a hand up, who need to be given the skills and tools to function in democracy, in a system that is pushing us in the 70 percent toward a highly competitive, dog-eat-dog world of precarious employment. Cottage industry stuff. Pick up anything, and work for pennies on your daddy’s dollar. I’ll let this story speak for itself, and what you see below are a few emails to me after other stories on U of Phoenix were posted here. Dahn and I want more stories from the abused, so, email me at gro.eciovtnedissidnull@luap.
Here are some of the ones we’ve worked on and some I did myself around higher education, predatory capitalism and education, and of course the Apollo Group’s U of Phoenix.
List of University of Phoenix and Privatizing Education Hell Articles on DV
The last one up — Lost in Translation — $=SS=Zero — What Is the Contradiction? Money for Uneducation University of Phoenix Dumpster Diving for Dollars
|University of Phoenix is Not Icarus — Twenty Ways to Leave Your …Feb 27, 2013 … DV is great, but not an interactive, real-time blog with up-to-date weigh ins from commenters, editors and writers. So, I will experiment.dissidentvoice.org/…/university-of-phoenix-is-not-icarus-twenty-ways-to- leave-your-exploiter/|
|University of Phoenix Not Making Headline News, CNN Ticker Tape …Mar 15, 2013 … In Boxes, Outing Stories The beauty of writing for Dissident Voice is that many people contact me with all sorts of stories worthy of ProPublica …dissidentvoice.org/…/university-of-phoenix-not-making-headline-news-cnn- ticker-tape-blips-national-network-footnotes-but-bad-guys-anyway/|
|University of Phoenix Rising and Immolating and What Ya Gonna …Feb 27, 2013 … I’ll sort of patch together some “stuff” around that ugly creation – the for-profit college model, University of Phoenix. First, the news breaking Feb.|
|When America is One Giant Ticker Tape — University of Phoenix …Mar 5, 2013 … When America is One Giant Ticker Tape — University of Phoenix, Massive On- line Education, the Failure of Democracy. by Paul Haeder …|
|Lost in Translation — $=$$=Zero — What Is the Contradiction …1 day ago … University of Phoenix Dumpster Diving for Dollars. “The education system that was created hundreds of years ago needs to change,” says …|
|Dog Paddling to Bedlam … or Consolidating Everything – the …Feb 26, 2013 … University of Phoenix Not Making Headline News, CNN Ticker Tape Blips, National Network Footnotes … But, Bad Guys Anyway! Paul Haeder …|
|Happy Birthday, Educator – Ten Easy Lessons on How Not to be a …Feb 6, 2013 … I am attaching a file called “Shooting Down the Phoenix” that provides a preliminary outline about University of Phoenix and its parent company …dissidentvoice.org/…/happy-birthday-educator-ten-easy-lessons-on-how-not- to-be-a-sucker/|
|Will College and Culture and Civilization Go to Hell in a Handbasket …Jan 11, 2013 … It comes out daily – check out the University of Phoenix story in Alternet.com. Additionally, always check the comments section – a good gauge …|
|Private Predatory Colleges: How the Neoliberal Alchemists Turn …Dec 1, 2009 … Career-oriented schools such as the University of Phoenix, a unit of publicly traded Apollo Group (APOL), have been benefiting from lean times …|
|Getting Their Hands on the Money: The Financial Aid Counselor …Dec 3, 2009… the University of Phoenix, DeVry Institute, Strayer University, Virginia College Online, Walden University, Grand Canyon University, American …dissidentvoice.org/…/getting-their-hands-on-the-money-the-financial-aid- counselor/|
|I am an English Teacher | Dissident VoiceJan 2, 2013 … and I Need No Stinking Badge from Arne Duncan, Rahm Emanuel, University of Phoenix, MIT or Bill and Melinda Gates! by Paul Haeder …|
|The Model Corporation: Shorter and Smaller are Better | Dissident …Feb 28, 2013 … University of Phoenix Not Making Headline News, CNN Ticker Tape Blips, National Network Footnotes … But, Bad Guys Anyway! Paul Haeder …|
|Profit Generation and the Proprietary Schools | Dissident VoiceDec 2, 2009 … At the University of Phoenix, the management stressed in 2003 that the recruiters must get “butts in seats” or “asses in classes.” The United …|
The Story sent to me by Dahn —
Shooting Down the Phoenix — Takes More than Slingshots
For those who have been following our series (and similar stories on the Internet), the word has been getting out that for-profit colleges are a rip off. The Government Accountability Office and the US Senate’s Harkin Commission have revealed the details about how exploitative the system has been, taking advantage of veterans, working class individuals, people with disabilities, people of color, and taxpayers, putting perhaps millions of people in debt they cannot repay—and that won’t be forgiven.
And the University of Phoenix, owned by Apollo Group, has been the model for the for-profit industry. Low teacher wages, aggressive marketing, and substandard education at exorbitant prices are what you get with Phoenix. But how could such an enterprise continue to operate, if it offers little other than student debt?
The story becoming clearer by the day.
Apollo Group (aka University of Phoenix) has flourished by extracting billions of dollars through unwitting customer—students using VA benefits, Pell Grants, and government backed loans. Using these ill-gotten gains, Apollo Group has been able to influence legislators, Republican and Democrat to do little or nothing about this exploitation. In fact, the US government will now allow these schools to get federal funds with even higher default rates, as high as 39%.
People who are concerned about the direction of higher education can do something tangible. Teachers can educate other teachers about Apollo Group and its practices. Teachers also need to divest in Apollo Group. Here’s a list of Apollo institutional investors linked to teachers.
Holdings as of 12-31-2013 (Nasdaq.com)
Shares Held Value (millions of $)
STATE TREASURER STATE OF MICHIGAN 2,726,343 46.184
NEW YORK STATE COMMON RETIREMENT FUND 689,143 11.674
CALIFORNIA PUBLIC EMPLOYEES RETIREMENT SYSTEM 427,570 7.243
TIAA CREF INVESTMENT MANAGEMENT LLC 385,267 6.526
CANADA PENSION PLAN INVESTMENT BOARD 301,709 5.111
EMPLOYEES RETIREMENT SYSTEM OF TEXAS 255,578 4.329
NEW YORK STATE TEACHERS RETIREMENT SYSTEM 227,064 3.846
STATE BOARD OF ADMIN, FLORIDA RETIREMENT SYSTEM 180,418 3.056
CALIFORNIA STATE TEACHERS RETIREMENT SYSTEM 168,463 2.854
TEACHERS ADVISORS INC 112,166 1.900
PUBLIC EMPLOYEES RETIREMENT SYSTEM OF OHIO 89,872 1.522
STATE OF WISCONSIN INVESTMENT BOARD 87,534 1.483
TEXAS PERMANENT SCHOOL FUND 55,333 .937
ARIZONA STATE RETIREMENT SYSTEM 34,576 .586
If you know of anyone who invested in these funds, talk to them about how these holdings undermine their lives and the lives of others. Ask them to call their financial advisor about the situation and inform them that you are considering changing your funds so they don’t include Apollo Group (or any other for-profit educational stock).
If enough people are informed, divestment will occur.
On the student side, student-customers must voice their stories about Phoenix. At some point, if there is enough groundswell, lawyers will see the opportunity to file class action suits. Students can share their stories in places like this to start.
Popular Places to Post Comments/Your Story
2. Youtube (comment in the most popular videos with the search term “University of Phoenix”)
3. US News — On-line Degree Programs . . .
Students Interested in Lawsuits
Great article (though extremely wide in scope). I didn’t see the chart I sent you showing how states, teachers retirement funds, and public employee retirement funds were invested in Apollo Group. I think that’s crucial information for readers. I think we can also report places where students and teachers can maximize their voice on the Internet.
I see that several people publicly put out their emails regarding their interest in a class action suit against Apollo Group. I wouldn’t be surprised if there are more sites like this.
I posted on this website where students are discussing a class action suit.
I imagine that there are other current sites on the Internet where we can make contact with students or former University of Phoenix students who are already agitated and want to organize.
Dear University of Phoenix students and former students,
I am forwarding this to email to you because you stated you had an interest in a class lawsuit against University of Phoenix. Paul Haeder and I have been working on a series of articles to get justice for University of Phoenix students and former students who have not been treated fairly. But you will have to act collectively and strategically to get justice. It will take time and struggle and there are no guarantees. In the last email I suggested that you:
(1) write a detailed complaint to the Higher Learning Commission and
(2) read and participate in the websites I listed.
(3) contact your state attorney general (usually the consumer fraud division)
You should also consider writing to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (“CFPB”). When posting or sending emails, be as professional as possible and provide little or no opinion–just the facts–which are compelling enough.
In solidarity and empathy, Dahn Shaulis
From MN, whose daughter got bilked by the University of Phoenix system of ramping up debt and screwing up credits, transferability of courses, and just plain old stuff the old time States Attorney General would have come down hard to stop:
To sum, I have contacted: The Arizona Attorney General, The Department of Justice, UoP complaint form (for documentation purposes only), Great Lakes (they said they “can’t enforce UoP to return refused Parent Plus Loan money),.
So far, not much has been done regarding this one issue surrounding the mysterious Parent Plus loan situation in which UoP has differing records from ours, and those of Great Lakes. Has anyone else heard about the situation in which UoP did not cancel a Parent Plus loan per the student’s request (or parent’s)? And denies that it is their obligation to do so, maintains that the fax from the parent was not faxed in time?
Can anyone tell me what this scheme is called, and to what benefit it is to UoP? I don’t have a criminal mind, and can’t figure out what in the world they are doing here. Would the Higher Learning Commission be able to do an audit of the student’s account? The DOE requests that all records in question be sent to a PO Box in DC; that seems to be a dead-end solution.
Other Places to Post
1. Wikipedia (Make verifiable statements about things like
student lawsuits, stockholder lawsuits, allegations of insider
trading, lawsuit risk).
2. Inside Higher Education – www.insidehighered.com
3. Nasdaq.com (under Apollo Group)
Finance.yahoo.com (under Apollo Group)
5. Better Business Bureau
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (“CFPB”), the new agency created after the financial crisis, is looking at new ways to help borrowers with private loans better afford payments – but they need your input!
Please click here to take this very quick survey from Young Invincibles and Student Debt Crisis to tell us about your experiences trying to manage high payments and deal with your lender. We’ll transmit your answers to Washington and make your voice heard as they consider new policies!!
Help us make the case for bold action! Thank you for your time and consideration.
The first email I received at Dissident Voice from parent “MN” whose daughter is a U of P graduate:
In short, my daughter has been defrauded by UOP as a student. It has been a nightmare dealing with the Financial “Counselors.” She would complete the FAFSA on time, only to be told by them, time after time and month after month, “…you were late…” and therefore not all of her Pell money could be applied. Which was not true! She would fax it, and they would ignore it, or push it to another Financial Counselor who would have no idea what was going on, ignore her calls, emails and faxes, or have a terrible attitude, or not have the first clue about how financial aid worked.
The accounting is so deplorable, and they have told her she has “a large amount she owes”, which no one can document as to the reasons why, nor can they send it to her. She finished her last class on January 14, and her “degree” was withheld until she paid an balance to them (after that amount they claim that she still owes money to UOP and Parent Plus which we actually never took). The Parent Plus loan was always denied by me, but UOP would lie and say that it was not cancelled, and we had to take it. That resulted in many anxious moments for me, as I am not working, and could not begin to re-pay that loan. It was another nightmare to deal with Parent Plus, as they did not have any answers from UOP as to why it was not cancelled.
After spending hours online tonight, and reading many sites, including yours, regarding this fraudulent situation, I am sickened. What my daughter did for an education was honest, and true. She wanted to stay home and work and go to school in order to help me! Her heart was in the right place, and they took an innocent lamb to the slaughter. What UOP did was fraud, and took advantage of a recent high school student four years ago who wanted to help her single mom out with bills by getting a good paying job by earning a BS in Business degree. She has been working full time, and attending UOP full time, non-stop, since January, 2009, graduating January 2013. She was supposed to graduate 5 months earlier, but they found some type of classes she needed to take, which was not disclosed. Plus, the cost differed, and we were led to believe it was less, and that it was fully accredited. Fraud abounds, and hindsight is 20/20.
What can be done to recoup most of her money, or at the very least have an investigation into the UOP accounting department? Should she write to the Arizona Attorney General, the Department of Education and the BBB? We can’t hire an attorney, and I am not working. This is a mess beyond what I could even imagine, and I vividly remember the recruiter pressuring her to sign up 4 years ago. I was sick, and was not aware of this horrible scene that would unfold, robbing her of her dignity and future employment. When I have discovered that 2 recruiters made big money off their employment at UOP, that makes it all the more clear about their false sales pitches. Preying on 18 year old potential “cash cows” is unscrupulous.
By the way, she graduated from high school in 2008 with “straight A” grades. And did the same top performance in UOP; albeit for a bunch of non-deserving snarly, sneaky employees who were lining their pockets with her money, only to hand her (after her repeated attempts to have it sent) a worthless degree. Now what? Employers are laughing at her resume, and she’s stuck working for a retail establishment who pays little and promotes from without the company (same UOP mentality, sadly).
This is not what any parent wants for their child. I am so sad, I am crying. It’s almost 3 AM, and I should be sleeping, but I cannot after discovering this tragedy.
Please help students, like my wonderful daughter, find answers to this situation!
I sent a letter back to M to find out if she was real or some robo-writer for Apollo. Here’s M’s response:
I totally understand your stance regarding wanting to know who I am, and why I would be contacting you. Yes, I did find your name via “Dissident Voice.”
My daughter enrolled in Axia, UoP 2009, graduated last month with a BS in Business. She, and I, thought she was doing the right thing, and true to many comments on multiple sites, was ensured that her credits would transfer to many colleges. What is sad is she was a “straight A” student in high school, but wanted to remain at home, work, pursue a degree. At the time, I had just left working for a nationally known K-12 online school program, K12, Inc., and felt that distant education was much more respected than in the past. I see I was blindsided by K12 Inc., as I was a salaried Enrollment Counselor for them, and was awarded quarterly bonuses based on my enrollment numbers. I am curious as to why they aren’t being sued, as well! My daughter was pursued many times by Enrollment Counselors, much more so than the efforts of Financial Counselors to help her after her enrollment (by the way, she is biracial, thus the Minority interest, single parent, etc). I now understand WHY this occurred, and the incredible story of UoP employees who were bullied into such recruiting practices.
Financial Counselors were nothing short of a a nightmare. Parent Plus loans would be taken out in my name without my permission, and impossible to cancel. UoP would ignore emails, calls and faxes when it came to FAFSA, and would come back and accuse her of “being late” and the Stafford Loan was “partially returned” and she owed UoP a balance. Eerily similar accounts that I read last night regarding the same fraudulent practice rang a bell, and now things are falling into place as to why it was nothing short of a round of confusing, and rude, encounters with UoP Finance Office.
Here is one email from her Counselor, which is typical of their convoluted answers:
When I pay UOP, will Great Lakes stop asking for payment? I’m still confused as to how I can owe UOP and Great Lakes? Can I make the payment over the Internet at my UOP website?
continued . . . . . . .
Yes you can. Go to the account tab of your student portal and at the bottom there will be a box next to general payment to check and then make your payment. Once you pay the balance with UOP and your final grade posts, your diploma application will populate on your student portal. The funds owed to UOP is for the last class that was not funded once the funds were sent back to Great Lakes from that last Plus loan disbursement but remember it was only a partial return since it was after the fact. Great Lakes will continue to contact you until they are completely paid off for those funds that were still showing on their documents. We had estimated that there was approximately $4029 in loans plus origination fees that they would have shown. The money owed Great Lakes was from the $3315 issued on 4/9/12 that was used for classes & not returned to the lender & the $714 from the 8/24/12 disbursement that did not get returned to Great Lakes. If you have paid them off totally, then you should be done. The balance owed Great Lakes is that approximately $4029 that did not get returned to them that was used to either fund classes or sent out to you in the form of an excess funds refund.
CQ, MAOM, Finance Advisor
continued . . . .
My daughter wanted to quit, but knew it would have been even more of a nightmare if this happened. As it is, she just received her “degree” today in the mail, and now it’s worthless, and she “owes” $20k, apparently. She could better tell you specifics about this travesty, but I am the one who has done hours of reading about recent lawsuits, but nowhere can find evidence of student debt being forgiven after contacting the proper channels. Clearly, this has ruined her academic career, and it’s so sad since she opted to stay close to home to help me since I was ill, and had to quit work. I feel sickened by this, and no one deserves this treatment, especially my daughter who worked daily towards this degree, thinking it was transferable. She wants to obtain her MBA, and now that dream is shattered, and defrayed, for years since none of her UoP credits will transfer.
Please try to send any specific information regarding who to contact in the Commonwealth of Virginia, or in the State of Arizona, as to how to get at least the outstanding loan amount (not even a true accounting, I’m sure), dissolved. At this point, all she can hope to do is walk away with a worthless degree, and a clean credit record.
How students are fighting back, with us, citizens watching their backs . . .
As you’re well aware, Americans now owe more than $1 Trillion on student loans, and far too many hardworking students are being priced out of higher education.
Do you agree that getting a college degree should be about creating opportunity— NOT about being crushed by lifelong debt? Now, there’s something we all can do about it.
StudentDebtCrisis.org has recently partnered with the I AM NOT A LOAN campaign to demand a solution to America’s college affordability crisis, and we hope you will join us. The campaign launched with a successful action to encourage President Obama to address the issue of college affordability in the 2013 State of the Union address. Now,we’re calling on colleges and universities across the country to pledge to take action to reduce student debt on their campuses.
Visit the campaign website and join thousands of other young people and advocates all across the country in raising your voice to say, “I AM NOT A LOAN.” Register for the campaign, check to see if your school has signed the pledge, get involved, and help spread the word.
As Tchad, a current student at the University of Maryland, recently told the campaign: “I did everything I was told I needed to do to get into a good school: exceptional grades, extra-curricular activities, internships, and great references. But what I wasn’t told is that despite all of that work, I will still graduate with a pile of student debt.”
It’s time to stop worrying and start acting. Join the movement, and tell America’s colleges: I AM NOT A LOAN!
Rob, Natalia, Kyle, Aaron & The Student Debt Crisis Team
Get it yet? H.R. 1330, the StudentLoan Fairness Act
- Student loan debt now exceeds $1 trillion.
- The debt burden now falls on 37 million Americans.
Over recent decades, higher education has been treated as an individual commodity, rather than a public good or an investment in our collective future. As a result, millions are now buried under the weight of student debt and are putting off major purchases and life decisions. This has serious negative consequences for our economy and our future.
This is NOT only a “young person’s problem.” At least 60% of the $1 Trillion is owed by Americans over the age of 30.
In short, student loan debt has become the latest financial crisis in America. If we do absolutely nothing, the entire economy will eventually come crashing down again, just as it did when the housing bubble popped.
But now, there is a solution: H.R. 1330 – The Student Loan Fairness Act – Introduced in the House of Representatives by Rep. Karen Bass (D-CA) and co-sponsored b y Rep. Frederica Wilson (D-FL)!
The Student Loan Fairness Act would create a new “10-10” standard for student loan repayment, in which an individual would be required to make ten years of payments at 10% of their discretionary income, after which, their remaining student loan debt would be forgiven. Further, this legislation would:
• ensure low interest rates;
• allow those eligible to convert their private loan debt into federal direct loans;
• reward graduates for entering public service professions;
• provide a lifeline for student borrowers who have fallen on difficult times;
• encourage delinquent and defaulted borrowers to re-enter repayment;
• replace the current, 10 year “Standard Repayment Plan” for the full amount of the loan balance with the “10-10” plan as the default repayment option for borrowers entering repayment.
Student loan debt causes an undeniable and significant drag on the economy. The Student Loan Fairness Act directly addresses this enormous boot on the neck of the middle class and represents a glimmer of hope for millions of Americans who, with each passing day, find that the American Dream is more and more out of reach.
Therefore, we, the undersigned, respectfully request that Congress vote Yes on H.R. 1330, the StudentLoan Fairness Act and, thereafter, that President Obama sign this bill into law.
That’s why I signed a petition to The United States House of Representatives, The United States Senate, and President Barack Obama, which says:
“Total outstanding student loan debt in America has passed the $1 Trillion mark.
Exceeding credit card and auto debt, it is the only kind of debt that actually increased during the “Great Recession.” And the problem only continues to worsen.
Reclaim the American Dream for more than 37 Million student loan borrowers – Support the StudentLoan Fairness Act (H.R. 1330)!”
Will you sign the petition too? Click here to add your name: