Sweet V. DeVos

#StudentLoanTruth

"I have been unable to pursue any higher-education due to the fact that I used all of my Post-9/11 G.I. Bill benefits at Heald College, while at the same time Heald College took out over $30,000 in student-loans without my knowledge. Of the total amount, I have been able to pay off a little more than $11,000. There never should have been any student loans taken at all. The Department’s refusal to grant or deny my borrower defense has caused me to lose faith that the government will protect students like me. While I strongly agree that the Department of Education is not responsible for the actions of Heald College, I was extorted by a for-profit college that successfully exploited me and my contribution to this country. Due to either laws not being in place to protect veterans, or due to Heald College successfully negotiated a loop-hole that allowed them to capitalize on my naiveté and lack of knowledge in Financial Aid and G.I. Bill benefits, I now feel like I had to pay $30,000 of my own money to serve our country.”

-Donovan N., Oregon, former student of Heald College

“I literally am struggling to buy a home because every bank asked me about my school loans and why the amount is so high. I tried to get a personal loan from my credit union just a few months ago, and they denied me because of my student loan balance. My credit is being weighed down due to the high debt to income ratio. Allow me to put this in perspective. I have approximately $80,000 in TOTAL debt. $78,000 of that is ALL from student loan debt from ITT Tech. I have even been the victim of public scrutiny as I've had people tell me that my degree is worthless. The mental stress of not being offered a job that I was qualified for because the HR department says my degree is invalid is heartbreaking. The Department of Education’s delay will not allow me to move forward with my life.”

- Brian P., Illinois, former student of ITT Technical Institute

“I have a degree that is useless, as I have never been able to find meaningful employment in my field of study. I can never get another student loan since it was wasted on the aforementioned degree. I would have to start all over since none of my credits would transfer to any other education institution. I would have to pay out of pocket, and this is just not feasible at this point in my life (35 years old as of this writing). My credit is also ruined for the foreseeable future. It's as if I never attended any higher education institution and just have bad credit with a massive debt with no real job prospects.”

- Manuel A., Nevada, former student of ITT Technical Institute

“I want to have a family that starts off in a better place. I want to be able to worry about the challenges of raising kids. Paying bills. But not for some financial mistake I made as a teenager”

- Ben N., California, former student of The Art Institute of California, Los Angeles

“I won't buy a house, I stopped fertility treatments, I don't have the future I was promised. It was stolen from me.

- Mendi, Texas, former student of International Academy of Design and Technology

“I do not want to get married or have children due to the debt I am in thanks to these loans on my credit report. I do not want that to be a burden on my wife or children as I struggle with these loans while trying to maintain financial stability for a family.”

- Matthew W., Texas, former student of ITT Technical Institute

“My claim has gone unanswered for over three and a half years. That's ridiculous. The Art Institute has even closed in that time. Those of us who were financially abused by for-profit educational institutions deserve to be considered. We were fed lies by society that a degree would ensure financial stability. It doesn't. We were fed lies by these organizations that we would land great jobs, especially with their help. We haven't. We were fed lies that our course credits would transfer should we decide to pursue our education elsewhere. They won't. The government under the Trump administration has done nothing but prove in every way, shape and form that the average American is the very least of their concerns.”

- Denise H., Texas, former student of Art Institute Pittsburgh

“I stress about my student loans and being able to repay them. Not knowing how much I will have to pay back when all is said and done or what the status of this application is going to be has made the stress much worse and caused anxiety attacks. Had I known then what I know now I would have never gone to that school. I could have finished my actual college degree and possibly provide a better life for myself and my husband where we could afford to pay off out student loans before we die.

- Anita S., Indiana, former student of National Institute of Technology/ Everest Institute

“These loans have ruined my credit. I cannot get a credit card, car loan, rent an apartment or home, or apply to jobs where you must have good credit such as banking or jobs involving money handling. I have no retirement nor can afford to save for retirement. I cannot even go to a real college to get a real degree because if you have defaulted student loans the Department of Education will not give you any other loans and this is denying me the right to attend college and to attain a job where I could be financially set for the future. These loans have financially ruined me and have saddled me with burden.”

- Carla G., Illinois, former student of Everest College Online

"I am having difficulty in living a normal life. My debt to income ratio is effecting my credit due to owing over $78,000. The debt keeps growing, I am constantly worried. I am unable to save any money and cannot advance in my career because my degree from ITT Technical Institute is worthless. I am struggling to survive and being in my 50's I don't know how I will survive in the future.”

- Connie B., former student of ITT Technical Institute

"I've had to start my college education from square one because of ITT being a worthless education. Therefore have maxed out my financial aid and am completing my education using interest credit cards. Everything ITT has put me through has seriously hurt my financial ability to save for retirement, buy a home and properly set myself up for the future. ITT has seriously ruined my financial future.”

- Ambria, Maryland, former student of ITT Technical Institute

“This delay has caused me a lot of stress and sleepless nights.  I had to send the application 2 times. Every time I called I got a different answer. My loans were put in Forbearance over a year after the Department of Education received my application. My credit has been severely damaged, this makes it very hard to get a vehicle, a house, or anything on credit. It is very stressful knowing you owe so much money to an institution that is supposed to help and protect students from predatory schools like ITT Tech.”

- Edgar C., Texas, former student of ITT Technical Institute

“I have anxiety disorder, not from this alone, but certainly exacerbated by it. I hear news about the company who owned the "school" I attended being successfully sued by the DoE, and I wince, knowing I will never see a red cent. I have spent over three years waiting...

I spend every day wondering what will happen if I lost my job, or if some significant illness was to befall myself or my wife. I feel used by the system that preyed on young Americans like myself, seeking to explore new and exciting fields of study, only to be ravaged of our financial stability to do so.

- Stephen T., Florida, former student of The Art Institutes Online/of Pittsburgh

“In 2014 I went back to college for a totally different degree, was able to get my Associates, but had to postpone continuing because I had "max out" my loans and would have to get personal loans in order to continue. It's been three years since I got my associates degree and I still cannot further my education because of the prior existing debt from NEIA.”

- Chelsea, Connecticut, former student of New England Institute of Art

“Hard to imagine a future that doesn't end in financial ruin. Cannot purchase a home. Cannot figure out a payment plan within budget that will ever get me out of this debt due to the interest. No way to plan for retirement when every extra dollar goes to this debt. No way to plan for my children's college fund. Do not foresee a way for myself, my wife or my parents to overcome this crippling debt.”

- Nathan, California, former student of Brooks Institute of Photography

“The continued inaction on the government is what has caused me to lose faith. What I haven't lost faith in, is the people with boots on the ground fighting to organize and take back ownership of the government. We are demanding they do their job, and work on behalf of the people not the corporate giants who have so many congress people in their pockets.”

- Jennifer L., Illinois, former student of The Illinois Institute of Art

“I cannot imagine spreading the pathological stress and environment of predatory loan collection that contact with the for-profit predator sector has introduced in my life. My family of origin has already dealt with an immense burden due to their relation to me due to the for-profit sector capturing my financial equity.”

- Benjamin, Colorado, former student of American Academy of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine and Academy of Oriental Medicine at Austin

"I have an overwhelming fear of debt because of this money that was wasted with this school. I can't find a school that takes any credits from my previous school and also I can't find the strength to go to another school because I will be in twice the amount of debt. I worry that my daughter will have to feel the effects of this debt -- I pushed myself in school to better myself for her, she was 1 when I graduated. I thought I'd have a better life for her than this."

- Morgan, Texas, former student of ITT Technical Institute

When I first submitted my defense claim I was told it would take 6 months to decide. 6 months turned into a year, and now it is 4 years later and I have no decision. I also cannot get any information about my claim beyond "it is in process". Couple that with all the trouble students who are in Public Service Loan Forgiveness plans (my husband's loans are on this plan) have had, I have little faith that the government cares about students and will do what is required to protect them.

It is disheartening to want to do the right thing, follow the rules, get an education and then contribute to my community with a small business that gives back to the local economy and then have such an uphill battle to even get any information. There is no other major financial transaction that has such little transparency. The company that owned my school (EDMC) was convicted of wrongdoing in court which is what prompted me to file my claim. I thought since a court had already convicted them of defrauding students that this couldn't possibly be drawn out so long.

- Christina, Virginia, former student of Art Institute Pittsburgh (EDMC)