Students of Jones International University (JIU), a for-profit school, received notification on March 31, 2015 that the school would be closing its internet-based doors. This announcement was as a result of a 55% in enrollment decline and the school claims it is due to the number of options students now have available. As a pioneer of internet-based colleges, JUI used to have a reputation of providing educational opportunities to those who were unable to attend traditional in-class sessions at other schools. The closure will take approximately 12 5o 15 months to complete. Is JUI’s closure really as the company would have us believe or was something else going on to cause serious decline in enrollment?
Many for-profit schools do offer an online model for students who have complicated lives with work or children, disabilities that make it more difficult to attend a school on a campus, or for those who don’t have a college nearby offering programs they wish to attend. Contrary to whaat JUI says, it is more likely their enrollment declined from student dissatisfaction than anything else. The number of fraud or misrepresentation complaints online certainly would lead us to believe that is the truth.
Some of the lesser complaints by former students against the school include atrocious customer service, lack of communication interdepartmentally or with students, and lack of complaint resolution. More serious complaints about the school are plentiful including those which state that when students could not get their problems solved by lower level staff and demanded to speak to the Dean, they were kicked out of the program, locked out of the system, and no refund was provided. Students also indicated that JUI would add mysterious charges to their previously zero balance accounts then withhold their stipends until students paid the fees in cash. If students complained too loudly about the charges, they were booted from the program.
JUI may have originally been the online education pioneer and had a good reputation but that changed rather suddenly. The school had formerly had its credits accepted by other institutions but eventually their accreditation was limited to the most basic variety necessary to run a for-profit school. Many students found their credits would no longer transfer and that employers were no longer willing to take on JUI graduates.
Dropout rates soared to 80% by 2013 and those who did faced repeated phone calls from various JUI departments bordering on harassing in nature. The school would call to state their financial aid disbursement had not come in even though the students had officially dropped out of the school months prior. No amount of telling those on the phone would result in the cessation of phone calls, some of which were attempting to persuade students to re-enroll with JUI.
Mulitple complaints online indicate that they were signed up for programs they didn’t want to even take. Those signing up for the Education program often found themselves sitting in Business classes. Instead of fixing the issue, students were told to finish the semester and the school would sort it out later. When the next semester would roll around, the students found they were still being signed up for the Business program. Students were forced to fork over huge tuition and associated fees for programs they had not agreed to be in. If they complained too loudly, they too were dropped from the program, locked out, and found themselves left with only the bill.
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