Enrollment mix-up at the University of Phoenix

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by Meredith Yeomans

azfamily.com

Posted on January 4, 2011 at 9:16 PM

Updated Wednesday, Jan 5 at 11:21 AM

PHOENIX - Sarah Anderson enrolled in the University of Phoenix two-and-a-half years ago.

“The people they were so nice. They knew what I wanted to hear,” Anderson said. “I walked in and they said we can do this, this and this for you. Just sign on the dotted line.”

With the goal of one day becoming an attorney, Anderson signed up for the school's criminal justice program to get her associate’s degree.

“I was going to be a paralegal,” she said.

Anderson says her classes and grades started off great, until March, when she found out the paralegal program she thought she was enrolled in doesn't exist.

“I was devastated,” she said.

Anderson, who is now struggling to pay back thousands of dollars in student loans, blames her academic advisor for either not knowing, or not telling her that you can't get a paralegal degree from the school.

“I had just wasted a year-and-a-half going to school for something that now wasn't even going to be there,” Anderson said.

Her story comes on the heels of a report released late last year by the Government Accountability Office,  the investigative arm of congress.

The report claims 15 for-profit colleges, including the University of Phoenix, “made deceptive or otherwise questionable statements to G.A.O.'s undercover applicants.”

“It was total deceiving,” Anderson said. “There was nothing accurate about what he was telling me.”

The University of Phoenix tells 3 On Your Side, “After an exhaustive review of Ms. Anderson's concerns and university records, we do not find any evidence to support Ms. Anderson's claim that she was misinformed.”

A spokesperson says during enrollment, “Sarah signed a piece of paper acknowledging that she read and understood the degree requirements.”

Out of courtesy, the university says it “has reduced Sarah's fees through various adjustments and tuition credits totaling $5,600 dollars.”

Anderson says her main goal after all this is to walk away with a degree in something, so she's enrolled in the hospitality program.

She will graduate in the fall.

“Even though that has nothing to do with what I want, I'm going to graduate with an AA in hospitality and then continue for my bachelors in law program at another school,” she said.

Anderson plans to graduate, then move on to a 4-year college to get her bachelor’s degree, then her masters in law.

She says moving forward, she'll do more research and ask a lot more questions before enrolling in any other school.

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