- Like the old "Let's Fall in Love" lyrics: Bankers
do it. Insurers do it. Even (privatized) universities with poor students
do it. They steal and get away with it, a Danny Weil August 18 Daily Censored
article titled, "Whistleblower Exposes How Kaplan University Cheats
Low-Income Minority students and the Washington Post (parent company) Benefits."
More on it below.
- Kaplan calls itself "an institution of higher learning
dedicated to providing innovative undergraduate, graduate, and continuing
professional education. Our programs foster student learning with opportunities
to launch, enhance, or change careers in today's diverse global society.
The University is committed to general education, a student-centered service
and approach, and applied scholarship in a practical (online or campus)
- It's part of Kaplan Higher Education Corp., part of Kaplan,
Inc., a subsidiary of The Washington Post Company, producing over half
of its revenue and profits - its real commitment, not students.
- The web site Ripoff Report.com lists first named only
victims of "scams, consumer complaints, and frauds."
- Elma from Washington reported her experience after attending
Kaplan's Legal Studies program. In December 2008, she said:
- "I have to concur with" other complaints. "Kaplan's
professionalism only extends as far as their sales training goes. They
are not (academically) minded, but purely monetarily motivated - hence
the magic number of $12,000," a notification saying "you are
$12,000 in the arrears on your tuition, therefore we will be blocking you
- The Veterans Administration (VA) paid Elma's tuition.
They intervened. Kaplan retracted its statement, then told the VA she was
blocked for not filling out a FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student
- In fact, they're voluntary, and since the VA paid Elma's
full tuition, it wasn't needed. She explained further, saying:
- Here's why they require it - "Because as (others
encountered), they use your information to obtain monies that (students)
don't see - but will be responsible for."
- Alma challenged them and involved the Department of Education.
Her access no longer was blocked. At issue is why it was in the first place.
While at Kaplan, she "had nothing but problems," including:
- -- discrimination by instructors; she complained, was
transferred to another one who was uncertified by the Kentucky Bar Association,
lying by claiming otherwise;
- -- complaining about any Kaplan educational experience
is fruitless; "it's a waste of time;" no matter how justified,
it won't "go in your favor....;"
- -- "Kaplan also takes advantage of minorities and
low income" students, getting them hugely in debt, delivering less
than they promise, sometimes nothing, and earning large profits as a result;
- -- required texts often arrived late, forcing students
to play catchup; and
- -- "Kaplan advertises they cater to working adults,
(but) they treat (them like) we are ignorant or juvenile."
- Alma said Kaplan should be sued and put out of business
for not delivering on promises, defrauding students for profit.
- In January 2009, Cary (from North Carolina) also said
"Kaplan should be put out of business." Two terms from graduating,
he was told he owed $7,000. He thought his tuition was subsidized. Apparently
it was exhausted, but Kaplan hadn't told him earlier, and "They never
offered any other type of financial aid other than alternative loans"
he wouldn't use. Angrily he accused them of operating like Enron and Worldcom,
scamming students for profit. "We must fight them back," he said,
"because we have worked too damn hard for (our) education!!!"
- In October 2006, Carrie (from Illinois) called Kaplan's
Boca Raton, FL facility a "scam school." It promised she'd get
no unexpected bills, have a student loan of around $26,000, and be able
to complete her education trouble-free. Not so.
- After two terms, she got a letter saying she was $1,851
in arrears to be satisfied before she could continue her course work. When
inquiring why she owed money, she was told her aid only covered three classes
per quarter, and she owed for the last two terms. Yet her advisor and financial
aid information assured her everything was in order, her scholarship covering
the extra classes.
- Nonetheless, the harassment continued. The initial arrears
more than doubled to $3,975. When she mentioned her scholarship aid, she
was told her account said nothing about it. After struggling in vain for
straight answers, she got an email stating:
- "Dear Kaplan University Student,
- The end of the term is approaching and your account is
severely past due. (If it's) not brought current by the end of the term,
a block will be placed on your account. You will not be able to continue
into your next term until the past due balance is paid in full."
- What happened to her scholarships she asked? Why weren't
they applied to her account? Like others, she was scammed, saying:
- "If anyone at all has a class action lawsuit or
is thinking of getting one started, PLEASE contact me. I have the names
of several other students (who've) been down this very road and are willing
to be part of this as well!"
- On August 6, 2010, Chronicle.com writer Goldie Blumenstyk
headlined, "Kaplan Suspends Enrollment at Campuses Where Federal Investigators
Found Recruiting Abuses," saying:
- Two campuses were involved, one in Florida "where
undercover government investigators posing as applicants encountered admissions
officers who lied about the college's accreditation and admissions-test
proctors who coached the investigators on the answers." Recruiters
also "scolded and mocked them for being hesitant to take out government-subsidized
loans" for tuition.
- Encounters were videotaped and played at an August Senate
hearing. Kaplan executives did a poor Claude Rains imitation - he as Captain
Renault in Casablanca, saying he was shocked, shocked about what he knew
was going on. Kaplan officials disingenuously said they were "sickened"
about apparent practices endemic throughout its system for years.
- They've been accused many times before. At least four
pending former employee lawsuits raise similar allegations as the government's.
As of June 2010, Kaplan had over 112,000 students enrolled, an 18% increase
over the previous year, many easy pickings to rip off for more profits
ahead, even in a dire economy.
- In his Daily Censored article, Weil explained that Kaplan
enrolls poor and low-income students on federal loans, leaving them "indebted
and unemployed." A whistleblower exposed the scheme - how hundreds
of unsuspecting students are recruited, then abandoned in debt.
- Students enrolled in the "CHI/Kaplan Surgical Technology
Program....were purposely not being told (that) externship (clinical experience)
sites, required for the....program would not be available." If true,
it amounts to "concealment fraud, overt misrepresentation and possible
theft of Title IV funds."
- Yet for years, students were enrolled for an annual tuition
cost of around $24,000. "When the fraud was detected....hundreds of
students (couldn't) finish their programs and had their personal lives
and credit history ruined."
- Is Kaplan any different from Goldman Sachs scamming investors,
or Prudential Insurance ripping off dead war vets' beneficiaries and getting
away with it? Apparently not. In this case, poor and minority students
are most hurt, "suffer(ing) garnishment of their wages or (huge) monthly
payments beyond their means, while others faced attachment by way of liens
on their properties, if they had any." Many won't ever recover from
Kaplan's disreputable practices. Yet apparently they continue unabated.
- The company uses government Title IV funds "for
student loans to pay for tuition." They account for "90% of their
revenues," employing "unethical if not illegal methods"
of scamming students for profit. Tens of millions of dollars are involved
and perhaps thousands of students.
- "SurgTech was one of CHI/Kaplan's most profitable
programs." Mostly minority female students were enrolled, using Title
IV funds. However, Kaplan "signed up more (of them) than their program
could serve and continued" enrolling more.
- "To cover up the enrollment fraud," CHI/Kaplan
"warehous(ed) students - basically telling them to go home....until
their externships came up," though Kaplan kept it hidden from authorities
to keep Title IV funds coming.
- The company "vanished" students from its rolls,
listing them as "drops" to shield themselves from liability "without
damming the revenue stream and the fiduciary responsibility of the corporation
to its shareholders and investors."
- Unknown to those enrolled, they were lied to, put in
a program Kaplan knew they couldn't complete. "Even top management"
knew about the scam from the start. Yet they over-enrolled in day and evening
courses, even without promised externships. Up to 90% of students "had
no legal or financial resources at all. (They) were desperate and were
attending what they thought was a bona fide college" to improve their
lives. Instead of being educated, they became trapped "in a quicksand
- After the Department of Education began examining Kaplan's
practices, "SurgeTech's program curiously disappeared from CHI/Kaplan's
degree offerings" in late 2008. At the time, state agencies "were
threatening to withdraw accreditation."
- From what's know so far, "Kaplan knowingly, over
a ten year period, misled by omission, prospective students, their accrediting
body, and the US Dept. of Ed, causing the government to approve tens of
millions of dollars of Title IV student loans for a program" enrollees
couldn't finish. The entire scheme was fraudulent.
- The "newspaper that famously broke the Watergate
scandal" buried this one with no mention, even though virtually everyone
at CHI/Kaplan up to the company's CEO knew about the "criminal conspiracy
and eventual fraud."
- Business, however, is business. Kaplan makes money the
old-fashioned way. They steal it from unsuspecting poor and minority students,
their welfare and futures wrecked from the experience.
- Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at
email@example.com. Also visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com
and listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the
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