Marketplace and ProPublica
Sharona Coutts and Amy Scott
This two-part series looks at recruiting practices at for-profit schools, particularly the University of Phoenix. You can read part of the transcript, get links for more information and listen to the stories here.
MICHELE RAMBO: My name is Michele Rambo, and I live in Grand Prairie, Texas.
Rambo signed up at the University of Phoenix in Dallas a few years ago.
RAMBO: I did tell them that I was pregnant and they were like, oh, well that just solves everything, you know, you qualify for a grant, you’re covered. And I’m like, so I don’t have to pay anything? And they told me no.
Classes went well. She got good grades. She was almost finished with her associate degree when a school counselor called about moving her on to a bachelor’s program.
RAMBO: And one of the questions that she asked me completely stopped the whole conversation. She had asked me, so what kind of loan do you have?
Rambo thought she didn’t have a loan. But when she enrolled, she signed what she thought was a form inquiring about federal aid.
Turns out it was an application for loans that’ll cost her $18,000 when she graduates.
RAMBO: It was scary. It still is scary. I’m still scared. I still don’t even know what I’m going to do yet.
So how could this happen?
It turns out the enrollment counselors at the University of Phoenix get paid in part based on how many students they recruit. The university’s negotiating the settlement of a lawsuit that claims employees were pressured to sign people up.