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Fraud complaints concerning University of the Rockies are plentiful in online complaints boards from former students of the school. Students indicate that the for-profit university is taking advantage of those with disabilities to gain access to their federal funding and that their programs are nothing but a fraud. Claims that minorities are taken advantage of at the school are also a concern as students indicated that the school would enroll individuals in their doctorate programs who lacked the basic English skills necessary to complete the program.
Disabled students with cognitive disabilities were also enrolled knowing full well the program was not a good match for their particular disability as some could not even construct a sentence properly. As doctoral programs involve lengthy papers to be written, this was obviously going to present a problem for someone who was unable to write due to cognitive issues unless extensive accessibility programs were in place. As the majority of programs were completed online, this is highly unlikely.
Students also claim that fellow students were given A’s on assignments and papers which they had not even turned in yet. This furthers the claim that University of the Rockies was tampering with documents in order to gain access to federal funding. In order to receive acceptance under the programs, students must maintain a certain GPA to show they are capable of doing the programs. This could possibly explain how those who barely spoke English were able to enroll and remain in the university’s programs or how those with intellectual disabilities were able to stay in the programs.
Several students also indicate that the school misrepresented its programs in its promotional materials and enrollment meetings with school officials which have left many in a financial lurch. The school advertises that it offers PhD programs in several courses of study but former students indicate that this is just an attempt to enroll students and scam them out of their money. Those enrolled in the psychology course of study, for example, were told they would be able to work as clinical psychologists after graduation with an extra class or two and licensure testing. This was not the case and students later were given statements that the school does not claim to prepare students for placement in licenced positions. A PBS special revealed that the school’s PhD programs were not usable in the workforce as they lacked accreditation by the APA and students in the psychology program were basically paying for a useless piece of paper. These misrepresentations and predatory enrollment practices were outlined in the special and had school officials stating their documentation never indicated they had APA recognition.
Many students dropped the program after the special aired but not without substantial financial costs. The school cost as much as $23,000 per year for its PhD programs, the majority of which would get students nowhere. When students demanded the names and contact information of former alumni who were working in their fields of study (a routine request for most schools), the administration was unable to produce even a single name.
While the school’s website claims it is not required to disclose a percentage of students completing specific programs, it also indicates that fewer than 10 students graduated from its PhD in Psychology Clinical Specialization in the entire 2013-2014 school year and that the cost of the 260 week PhD program done online is $103,447. Considering that students must first complete a Bachelor’s degree and a Master’s prior to enrollment in a PhD program, that’s a whole lot of money for a program that does not allow you to work as a licenced professional afterwards.
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