Jonathan’s DeVry Student Loan Truth: “My degree has held me back more than it has benefited me” | Blog
September 17, 2021
When Jonathan H. attended DeVry University, they promised him a lucrative career in gaming – which turned out to be a “flop program.”
It all made sense when the Federal Trade Commission sued DeVry in 2016 for making deceptive claims related to graduate job placement rates and compensation. Jonathan knew he has been ripped off, too.
Since then, Jonathan’s debt from this sham school ballooned to over $250,000 and he says the degree has caused more harm than help. He applied for borrower defense and was among those who received one of former Secretary DeVos’ sweeping blanket denials, which are now being challenged as part of our class action lawsuit Sweet v Cardona.
Jonathan recently submitted testimony for the record in a hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Student Loan Bankruptcy Reform, in support of a bill sponsored by Senator Durbin that would make it possible for borrowers to discharge student loans through bankruptcy.
Here’s Jonathan’s story.
How did you decide to attend DeVry?
I was recruited to DeVry University with the promise that the school would offer valuable hands-on experience and resources to allow me to make more money than any graduates from other colleges. They led me to believe that they would help place me in a job after graduation.
What happened after you enrolled at the school?
I started at DeVry in a Game and Simulation program that was supposed to be the next up-and-coming computer degree field; they no longer offer the flop of a program. During the first two semesters of the program there were numerous changes and a real lack of direction as to where the program was headed. So after two semesters I switched to their Network and Communications degree, which seemed like a more established and known field to me. About halfway through the program they switched the classes from a standard 16-week format to an 8-week format. This led to instructors cutting valuable hands on lab time out of the class and further taking away from the value of their overpriced classes.
During this time, I also found out that there were quite a few colleges that wouldn’t accept DeVry credits to transfer, even though they are accredited, so I was stuck. I felt like I had to finish my degree or lose everything.
How did DeVry affect your employment prospects?
During my last year of college, I worked for a company with a contract to ATT for technical support over the phone. I was making $13/hour at this job, and when I graduated from DeVry, they considered this to be a job in my field.” Why would I spend so much money on a degree to make $13/hour doing something I could have done without a degree?
I firmly believe that my degree has held me back more than it has benefited me. DeVry does not have a respected name in the business world. None of the jobs I have worked since then have required a degree and it has set me back over a decade at this point of where my life could be.
What was your experience with the financial aid process?
I paid over $100,000 to DeVry while their financial aid reps would encourage me to keep borrowing and keep going, telling me I would easily pay off in the end. Over the course of my schooling between private student loans and federal loans I borrowed approximately $140,000. At the end of my college career I was in debt over $160,000 with little to no hope to make enough to make real payments on the debt. I was forced into payment plans that didn’t even cover the interest. Between the years of 2010-2015 I paid approximately $40,000 all the while the debt continued to rise to a peak of over $250,000.
How has this student debt impacted your life?
I will be paying on these loans for the rest of my life and will most likely never be able to retire due to the cost over my head. Over the course of these loans it will cost me more than $400,000 to pay back. This is money that should be saved for retirement and to help my kids have better chances than me. Instead it is wasted on a worthless degree to a sham school.
Why do you think Congress should make it easier to discharge student loans through bankruptcy?
If I could have claimed bankruptcy seven years ago I would have been able to start my life and be able to plan for the future with more certainty. Now, from this point on in my life, I will be an indentured slave to my student loans unless Congress does something about it.