When I was younger I was interested in starting college, but coming from immigrant parents who never attended college I was not prepared in any way and did not know where to start. Unfortunately what I ended up doing is hastily enrolling in one of those privately owned colleges who promise you quick graduation in the trade of your choice and job security for a lifetime, along with an incredibly easy (and now I see suspicious and cagey) financial aid approval process. The result is that I now owe UHEEA about $13,000 for a “degree” that I never even got. I have not always made the best decisions in life, and I love instant gratification, so a school like this where they lure you in with the promise of a “one step application process!” and “quick graduation in as little as 18 months!” well…it can all seem like a good idea at the time. These days they even advertise a degree in as little as 10 months! What they don’t tell you is that their school costs about double what it does to get the same degree at an actual college, they use the term “accredited” extremely loosely, and their instructors who will be teaching you important things like anatomy may or may not know how to spell. I was young and reckless when I thought it was a good investment in my future to get a degree in medical assisting, but now that I am older and wiser I see how ludicrous paying $20,000 for a degree is, a degree that will get you a starting out pay of around $10 an hour. Fast forward 5 years and many more mistakes and I am ready to do the education thing for real now, at a real college even. Too bad for me that upon applying for financial aid I discover that I owe over $10,000 for that ill advised attempt at schooling I made five years ago, and I won’t be able to get any more financial aid to make a second attempt until I have brought that existing loan out of default first. In order to start at SLCC, I had to pay UHEAA monthly payments for 9 months, and only once I had proven that I could be responsible did they release more school funding to me. So now I am finally on the path that I at least know will lead to somewhere with a better ending than what Provo College would have brought, but unfortunately I still have to pay for that mistake that I made with that little privately owned college. I wouldn’t mind so much if it was a reckless and silly mistake, but what bothers me is that I thought I was doing the right thing, it’s just too bad that I didn’t really know what I was getting myself into. Now that I know what real college is like, I know that what was going on down there was definitely shady. For example the financial aid checks. Here I get ALL the money that is left over after the school takes out tuition and any other miscellaneous costs, at Provo College I never saw any of that money that I am now paying back, not a dime! So how do I owe over $10,000? I think I only went for 2 semesters! Provo College, and any private college like them, lures in ignorant people who are trying to change their life for the better and gets them to sign their lives away by not fully explaining what exactly the costs are and what exactly they are going to be paying back. In addition to the way those schools rip you off financially, they also pull the wool over your eyes when it comes to their credentials. They advertise themselves as being “accredited” but in all actuality not a single legitimate college that I could find would accept any credits from them. I completed courses in Math, Anatomy and Medical Terminology, but I am still starting over from square one now that I am at SLCC, not that I mind too terribly though after having an anatomy teacher who could not spell. If it sounds like I am angry that’s because I am. I come from immigrant parents who did not attend college. They moved us here to America so we could have better lives, and a key to a better life is getting an education, a quality education, a legitimate education. My parents and I fell victim to the promises of Provo College because we didn’t know better. I want the future college students of America to know that starting college isn’t as scary and impossible as it may seem, I want them to know that they don’t have to rely on dodgy private colleges who promise to make the application process the easiest thing you’ve ever done if you will just sign here please. I chose one of those colleges because the other option appeared to be much too daunting, but it wasn’t! Enrolling in college, and especially in my experience at a college like Salt Lake Community, has been a process that was always guided by friendly and helpful assistance wherever I needed it. I have accomplished much more in my two semesters here than I did at Provo College, and for much, much less! I can even continue on to get a Bachelor’s degree at a university and all my SLCC credits will count! .
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