via Project on Predatory Student Lending blog

This month we interviewed Eynelys Garcia, who attended DeVry University in Palmdale, California from 2012-2014.

DeVry misled Eynelys about their financial aid plan and job placement services, leading her to drop out of her program. In 2016, the Federal Trade Commission sued DeVry for making deceptive claims related to graduate job placement rates and compensation. Eynelys filed a borrower defense application four years ago, seeking relief from her student loan debt, and still has not received a decision from the Department of Education.

Eynelys is part of our class action case Sweet v. Cardona, which represents students who have had decisions on their borrower defense applications wrongfully delayed or improperly denied.

How did you decide to attend DeVry?

I saw one of their television commercials, which made it seem like I could get a good job in my chosen field if I got a degree through one of their programs. I had a rough childhood, and DeVry seemed like an opportunity to get my life on track.

I visited their Palmdale campus to learn more. The recruiters sold DeVry to me like it was the dream. They told me I could get an “expedited” Bachelor’s Degree, faster than at any other school. They presented me with materials saying that with a degree from DeVry I could expect a minimum salary in the $40,000 range and potentially upwards of $60,000, especially if I got good grades. I mentioned I was maybe interested in a career in journalism. They suggested that with a degree in Communications, they could make it happen, no problem. They said they had a lot of industry relationships, and it was pretty much a shoo-in that I’d get a job. They also created a financial plan for me, showing all my education expenses would be covered by federal loans and grants. There was a lot of pressure to enroll on the spot, so I did.

I didn’t know it at the time, but all of what they promised me was a lie.

What happened after you enrolled at the school?

They told me that if I got good grades, I could qualify for additional grant money, so I tried really hard and got straight A’s for about two years. Despite my 4.0 GPA, I never saw any additional money.

Then, at the end of my second year, DeVry dropped the bomb on me. I was called into the financial aid office and told that my lifetime limit on federal loan eligibility had run out, so I would have to pay for the remaining two years of my education out-of-pocket. At the same meeting, the financial aid officer also said that due to some “restructuring” with DeVry’s job partners, they were putting their job placement services on hold and wouldn’t be able to place me in a job. I couldn’t believe it. I started crying. I was newly married, taking care of my husband’s child, and couldn’t afford to finish my education without loans. And now, the job I had been promised, the reason I enrolled in the first place, was being taken away. With no ability to pay and little reason left to stay, I dropped out.

How did DeVry affect your employment prospects?

DeVry didn’t do anything for me, job-wise. They never provided the career services they promised. I spent two years studying Communications and have never been able to secure a paid job in the field. I’ve been unemployed after being laid off at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic and recently started a YouTube channel to discuss current events. That’s the closest I’ve come to working in the field I wanted to have a career in when I enrolled at DeVry.

How did DeVry affect your life?

I viewed DeVry as an opportunity to get my education completed and secure my job prospects, but now I realize the school swindled me. They didn’t care that they had lied to me to get me to enroll. All they cared about was money. Now, I’m saddled with over $30,000 in student loans and for what? I wasn’t even able to get the education, the job, or the degree I was promised.

It’s consuming to be in debt. I cut up my credit cards and paid everything off. Now, my only source of debt is my student loans from my time at DeVry. Those are currently in forbearance but interest keeps accruing. I just want the Department of Education to acknowledge DeVry’s misconduct and cancel my loans, so I can be debt-free and move on with my life.

Some policy-makers doubt that for-profit colleges are a problem – what would you say to them?

I would say that it is shameful how far behind the rest of the world we are. The fact that our children’s education isn’t guaranteed to them free of charge in the richest country in the history of the world, show just how corrupt our system is. We saddle our youth with lifelong debt after telling them that they HAVE to get a degree to be successful, we pressure them to be productive members of society, yet crush them financially, and then wonder why none of us can afford to even own a home. I would say that it’s shameful that we are allowing private organizations to profit off of the pain and suffering of millions of Americans, whose only crime was to want to get an education.

The Department of Education has refused to cancel the loans of thousands of former students of for-profit colleges. What would you say to the Department about the need to cancel these loans?

Same answer as above. Also: If we can give $4.2 Trillion dollars to corporations that still fired and laid off employees, and kept all of our tax dollars that were given to them to give bonuses to their executives, then we can provide a free education to Americans and catch up to the rest of the world.

Filed in: Clinical Voices

Tags: DeVry University, Eynelys Garcia, Predatory Lending and Consumer Protection Clinic, Project on Predatory Lending

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