UNIVERSITY OF PHOENIX : Charges for classes not taken

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Feb 22, 2018
Back in 2009 I enrolled in the University of Phoenix online learning university. At the time I thought it was a good school. I was wrong. I obtained an associates and bachelor’s degree and last year in 2017 I enrolled in the master’s Program. Recently I have been diagnosed with a life-threatening illness and have been placed on 100% disability and cannot work. . I informed the academic and financial aide student adviser support people of my situation. I was told by my physicians due to my illness that I needed to focus all my attention; on getting well. Because of my illness I could not give them a time when I could come back to school to complete the program.
The University of Phoenix has now billed me $7,210 dollars after they sent back money that was provided through financial aid. Now they are threatening me with immediate payment for the three remaining classes that I have not been able to complete due to my illness. No one at the University told me that I was doing anything wrong but now they are trying to say that I did not notify them of my situation when I have every email that I sent to the academic adviser and the financial adviser.. They are going to post this on my credit report and I feel that this is very unfair and wrong when all the while I tried my best to keep them informed of my health issues.
I would strongly suggest that before anyone enroll in this University to do research on their unfair and unethical ways of obtaining money from unknowledgeable students. I am going to contact a consumer attorney to fight this because they have done this to many other students in the past and I will not lay down and let them destroy my reputation because they are more interested in money than really trying to help students. I am nearly 60 years old, and I have been diagnosed with Thyroid Cancer along with several other illnesses, After all the money they have already gotten out of me, you would think they would be willing to work with me. I tried to explain to them about my situation and got no solution. It is all about money; money and more money. They do not care who they hurt. I never thought a company would do something like this. Therefore, this may be the reason why they have a F rating with the BBB. Is it legal for the school to receive money from the financial aide that I had applied for, then send the funds back and turn around and charge me for classes that I have not yet completed?
I would appreciate any help and or suggestions please. Thank you.
Mar 17, 2015
I am not 100% sure of the policies of an online for profit college, so I have a few questions before offering too much guidance.
When did you enroll in the master's program?
Did you finish a "semester?"
Did you need to drop the classes after you had already begun the current "semester?"
Typically, financial aid is provided only for students who are considered full time, which for a master's program used to be considered 9 credit hours. Did you take 9 credit hours in the semester where the financial aid money was sent back?
Did you formally drop the courses, or just e-mail your academic advisor and financial aide advisor? This is a good start, but may not be the place you needed to cancel your classes.

After you clarify a few items, what I would recommend is shortening your post and using more of a bullet point list as follows:
I enrolled in x program on x date
I corresponded with Advisor on x date informing them I needed to drop classes (note if this was before the add/drop date), please see attached e-mail.
I also corresponded with financial advisor on x date informing them of the same thing, please see attached e-mail.
Leave out about your age. The only important fact right now is that you have been diagnosed with cancer and cannot continue the classes, as you informed school personnel as soon as you knew and you never expected to have to pay for these courses which you believed had been dropped.
Feb 23, 2018
Make sure you have officially withdrawn from the classes. Then check to see whether there is a Financial Appeal policy - most schools have a committee to review student financial appeals. The appeals usually requires a specific reason (medical, death in family, job transfer) with appropriate documentation (letter from doctor, death certificate, etc). Check with the Student Financial Services or Bursar office, they should be able to let you know what needs to be done to file an appeal.


Verified Member
Dec 26, 2014
San Francisco
I am very sorry for all your recent troubles. Reading your post, I think that you might have a communication failure with the school. What are their policies when it comes to a very serious illness such as yours? There is probably a protocol to follow and you may be caught up in bureaucracy ... they may require students to notify them in certain ways, depending on the department involved. It would be a good idea for you to review all their policies to see if you can determine what needs to be done. I don't think that Phoenix expects you to pay for classes you are unable to take, but I do think that they probably want things handled in a certain way.
Sep 19, 2015
First of all I have to admit to having a very low opinion of the for profit higher education industry. And the University of Phoenix has been in the news for its aggressive and inaccurate marketing practices.

Was the tuition financed by a federal student loan or were you paying?

Did you follow the procedure below that they require to take a leave of absence? Or was it a withdrawal completely?

You can apply for an LOA anytime a circumstance may require you to be out of class longer than 14 days. During an approved LOA, you are not considered withdrawn, and federal student aid return calculations are not required.

In order to request an LOA, you must submit a written, signed and dated request — including the reason for the request — to Student Financial Services – Operations. The Request for Leave of Absence form is available on eCampus under the Program tab.

You are highly encouraged to speak with the Financial Services department for guidance when completing the Request for Leave of Absence form to ensure it’s completed properly and is submitted on time. An incomplete or improperly completed form, or one turned in late, may result in your LOA request being denied.

Things to consider when taking an LOA:

  • Any break in attendance can cause a corresponding delay in your graduation date.
  • You can have a break in attendance of up to 14 days without being unofficially withdrawn from the University. If your situation warrants it, we recommend limiting the break to no more than 14 days in length.

No matter what the institution there is a procedure for taking a leave of absence or a withdrawal, an email is usually not enough -- in my old schools one had to present paperwork to the Dean of Students; just telling an adviser was not enough.

I am sorry to hear about the illness and the stress you are under.