Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Stevens Henager College Exposed

Stevens Henager College often uses promotions like this one to bribe students to promote their Facebook and Linkedin pages.   Photo courtesy of Facebook
Stevens Henager College often uses shady and unethical
promotions like this one to bribe students to promote
their Facebook and Linkedin pages in hopes of duping
in more students. Photo courtesy of Facebook

Is it a scam? Should you believe the reviews?

First Things First

First things first. This is an article is written by several current, and former admissions consultants, as well as current and former students from Stevens Henager college. The aim of this article is to present the truth. To present facts about the education system, and about Stevens Henager, just the facts. In this article we will do everything possible to avoid bias on either side, and provide a place for potential students to read the facts from an insider’s view, and decide for themselves if it is going to be their best option for higher education. The most common question we get is, “Is Stevens Henager a diploma mill? Yes it is. “Is Stephens Henager College a Scam?” No, it is not a scam, but does that mean it is a good value? It is exactly what they say it is. A nationally accredited college and definitely a diploma mill, foolishly recognized by the Department of education that charges $70,000 for a bachelor’s degree, $40,000 for an associate’s degree, and $28,000 for a master’s degree. Here is some information about the school to consider.

Accreditation. Regional accreditation vs. National accreditation. Stevens Henager is a nationally accredited college. At the time of writing this, they are accredited by the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges. One common mistake among students is to think that national accreditation is the same as regional accreditation, or that national accreditation outweighs regional accreditation. This is not true. The most important thing is that the accreditation body is recognized by the Department of Education; however, there are many regionally accredited schools that will not accept transfer credits or degrees from nationally accredited schools. Nationally accredited schools generally tend to be for-profit trade and technical schools, though they can also be non-profit colleges. Examples of well-known nationally accredited schools are ITT-Tech, DeVry, Art Institutes, and Everest College. Regionally accredited schools tend to be (but are not exclusively) state owned and private traditional colleges and universities. Examples of well-known regionally accredited schools include Harvard, Stanford, MIT, Duke, Yale, Penn State, Notre Dame, WGU, USC, UCLA, NYU, University of Miami, Gonzaga, University of Texas, SMU, BYU, Arizona State, Baylor, Georgetown, Ohio State, Auburn, Michigan State… you get the idea. Decide for yourself which accreditation carries more weight.

Cost of education. Yes, education is expensive. However you look at it, you are going to pay a lot for your education. At the time of this blog, the cost of a bachelor’s degree at Stevens Henager is “estimated” to be $71,000, and the “estimated” cost of an associate’s degree is $40,000. These prices are before interest paid on school loans, which tend to be between 4% and 5%. While this is less than the cost of Ivy League schools, here are some estimated costs of a 4-year bachelor’s degree from some other well-known universities.
Stevens Henager- $71,000
UCLA- $50,744
University of Texas- $39,264
Florida State- $50,800
Stanford- $103,200
Western Governors University- $23,200
Brigham Young University- $22,800
Georgia Tech- $32,769
University of Utah- $27,750
Ohio State- $38,844
University of Washington- $28,200
Michigan State- $51,288
FERPA and your privacy
This post was also written by a former Admissions Counselor and talks about his experiences with FERPA regarding some interesting privacy laws.
I have been an online college counselor for over 5 years at 2 different colleges and have been through months of training on the proper procedures to not only enroll students, but to obey the law. The US Department of Education governs all colleges in the US and monitors the privacy of your information. It is the college’s job to teach ALL employees the law and regulations to protecting the privacy of students. FERPA is the Family Education Rights and Privacy Act of 1974. This act or law, makes it so ALL information that is given to a college must be strictly monitored to protect the students information. For example all the personal information that is received at the college must be under lock and key, literally. The college employee can’t even so much as walk to the printer without taking students’ sensitive information and locking it up. You get the idea how strict the law is.
I worked at the Stevens Henager online division, and there was never a FERPA training.

Furthermore, when I talked to most fellow employees, they have never heard of FERPA. I talked to my ADOA, which is a fancy title for manager, he had never heard of FERPA. At one point I personally talked to the Director, and told him that it is vital that there is FERPA training. He just blew me off and treated me like I had no idea what I was talking about. Later that same day, while working overtime to try and get my numbers up, I walked around to every person’s cubicle and counted the number students paperwork that was left on desks that were unattended. There were about 100 cubes that I walked to and I discovered that over 300 packets were left on desks, unattended that particular day. Now please understand that this paperwork has EVERYTHING you don’t want to be unsecured. Name, Date of Birth, Social Security number, home address, phone number, emails, even friends name and phone numbers, and sometimes your driver’s license and tax return for last year and you’re printed out with the financial aid application.

The worst part is that they know that FERPA training must be taught, but they knowingly do not teach it, and last I knew, did not even know what it was. That is unacceptable. Please use caution when talking to any school and before giving them any of your information. Ask the people you are talking to if they know what FERPA is. If they say anything less than “of course,” I suggest you run for the hills. Remember that this is federal law and violating this can and should shut down colleges.

The Admissions Counselor

There are hundreds of webpages on which you can inquire about colleges. They ask you to put in your name, address and phone number, and they will match you to the college that most closely meets your needs. The fact is, most of them sell your information to many for-profit colleges for about $65 each, one of which that buys thousands of “leads” a month is Steven’s Henager. Once Stevens Henager has this information, your name is put into a telemarketing speed dialer system where a group of “admissions counselors” sitting at computers wait for someone to answer. When someone answers they say, “Hello Mr./Mrs. ______, this is ______ in admissions. I understand you are interested in learning more about our online programs”. Then go into the “Online Phone to Enroll Script”. This is the official script that the counselor goes through with you. I was able to find a copy of 4 of the 5 pages of the script online. I was told during training that it is very important to stick to the script because it was developed by a team of marketing psychologists.

Another tactic counselors are trained on is the concept of “pain points” or a “pain funnel” (see diagram below). This entails asking potential students about their past. Digging and finding areas of their lives that they would like to change. Things like income, a nice car, a house etc. Then getting potential students to talk about those things in order to lead them to the conclusion that they need to go back to school. It is a classic sales move, making the customer feel like they came up with the idea on their own. A good sales person knows how to make other draw their own conclusions that are the same as the salespersons ultimate goal.

Once the student decides they want to go to Stevens Henager, the counselor and the student together will fill out the application. The admissions counselor will then take the application to the “admissions committee” and present their case as to why the student should be admitted.
This is, at best, a half-truth. There is no “admissions committee” at Stevens Henager Online. Once the application has been filled out, they counselor forwards it to their manager. Stevens Henager has an open enrollment. The truth is, anyone who fills out the application is admitted. The counselor’s manager replies via email, saying they have been admitted, and the counselor calls back the student and say “great news, the admissions committee has approved your application and you have been accepted into the school”. If the counselor does not feel the student will be able to succeed as a college student, they still have to move forward with the process. A friend of mine who is a current counselor told me the following story:

I was speaking with a young man in Texas who was very excited to start as a student at Stevens Henager College. He was a very nice young man, but was clearly mentally handicapped. I was willing to work with him through the admissions process, but he was unable to get on the internet, check his email, or give me his basic information for the application. His grandmother helped him, and we eventually got everything done, but I didn’t feel it was right to sign up a young man to do online courses when he was unable to use a computer. I told my ADOA (manager) about the situation, and he agreed with me that we shouldn’t put his application through if he was unable to use a computer. I called the young man back, and let him know that we felt he should attend a local college where he can attend classrooms rather than do everything on a computer. We then looked up community colleges and junior colleges near where he lives, and though he was disappointed that he wouldn’t be able to go to our school, he was very excited at the prospect of attending a college near where he lived. I felt bad that I had to let him know that our online college wouldn’t be a good fit for him, but I felt good that I wasn’t setting him up for failure taking online courses when he couldn’t use a computer. I also felt good that he was so excited to look at local community colleges. Word got up to my managers manager that we were “denying a student the opportunity of higher education”. I was told that if he was able to apply for federal financial aid, that would prove his ability to succeed in the program, and we would take them. I was forced to call him back and put him through to a financial aid counselor at the school. The financial aid counselor spent over an hour with him trying to guide him through the online financial aid application (FAFSA). Eventually the financial aid counselor came to me and said, “He can’t do this, we can’t sign him up”. We told my manager, who told his boss. We were instructed to call him again, and try again, and that if he was willing to try, we should be willing to work with him. The financial aid counselor called back, and tried for another hour to walk him through the online financial aid application, but he was again unable to do it. We decided together to just drop it, and not report back to management.

There is an unwritten rule for admissions counselors that if you enroll 3-4 students a month, your job is safe. If they are not signing up 3-4 students a month, their job is in serious jeopardy, as they say in the office, “you have a target on your back”. These lead admissions counselors to work overtime and weekends, and do anything they can to sign up students. Most of the counselors I worked with are good people, but they are good people with bills to pay. They need their jobs, and will do everything they can to get a student to start at Stevens Henager. For more information on this, read the “unofficial” post by Insider.

Written by a current admissions consultant

There’s things a person looking at this school needs to know that a “Consultant” isn’t going to tell you. First they are an “Open Enrollment” school. This means they have to take anyone. During an “Interview” the “student” is probed for info. “Pain points” why they want to go to school. Every Consultant reads from the same script, and you, on the phone, are just a number to post on a white board. They lie to the student saying they have to talk to the “Admissions Committee” to approve their application. The Admissions Committee doesn’t exist. It’s a ploy. If you have a pulse and a High School Diploma they’ll take you. They also lie when they say there’s limited numbers of seats in the class and if you don’t do whatever it is in a prompt manner, you lose your seat. Each class has 20 people. If it fills up, they have another class of 20, and another, and another, and another.

Second the “Demographic” they target is some of the poorest and ill-educated groups across the country. They target this group because, frankly they also know they can take advantage of them. A friendly voice on the phone promising a brighter future to someone at the poverty level who knows nothing about college. They also know that they make the most money off the student in the first six months, because the student won’t read the contract, drop out or fail. In the contract says you are agreeing, after the first month, to pay for the first semester. That’s seven classes. If you stop going they keep charging you. The worse thing is if you just stop going they also fail you for all the remaining courses in the semester block. This amounts to about $10,000. This is loan money you owe to the Government. You will owe the School money and they will have the billing department on you like flies on garbage. If you want to go back to school you have to pay for those classes yourself; The Government will not cover classes you already failed. However they will “Help” you with more loans through the school. So to get back in there’s $20,000 gone, out of the $50,000 you will end up owing for the degree.

Another lie is cost. They tell you when they interview you “This is the cost.” It’s not. Every consultant will tell you only what the current cost of the school is. This doesn’t’ include yearly increases in tuition. If you were graduating now, that is what you would owe. The school ups the amount by $2000-$4000 each year. You will end up owing substantially more than what you’ve been quoted.

Another “Ethics” problem is that the programs are set up to milk every drop of Financial Aid they can get. Once you have your Associates through Stevens Henager, you won’t have enough loans left to cover your Bachelors or to transfer to another school. The only way you really can cover school with Government Aid is if you have Pell Grant, as well as the loans. There is the Stevens Henager Loan Option. What they don’t tell you up front is that the smaller your monthly payment during school, the longer it takes to pay. When you leave school you will be making payments to Stevens Henager and Payments to the Government.

Another Lie: Free Laptop. It’s not free. You pay for it. The Consultants use the laptop to bait the student. “I need you to do *fill in the blank* so we can send you your laptop.” I’ve also heard the consultants bait people into the “Property Management” degree since if you pay money to join some association, you get 10%. That’s great, IF you are looking for Property Management. If not, they will still spin the degree so it sounds like what you are looking for. “You want to open a toy store? Great! Take Property Management and it will help you with inventory” No it won’t. I’ve also heard things like a student who was looking into Psychology be told that the programs include psychology, and that psychology is a bad degree to get. They leave out the reason they are saying that is because Stevens Henager doesn’t offer it, that Psychology is the largest growing field in the country, and that the only psychology you get is an intro course to how to be successful in school.

They also won’t tell you the credits are worth nothing to any reputable school. The quality of the education is a joke. I don’t know how they keep a “National Accreditation” since they are a diploma mill. Still, most the students coming in struggle even though it’s 10 times easier than any college worth spitting on. A current student I talked to said he felt like he sold his soul for a laptop.
They act like they are doing something very noble, that they are the students’ only hope. At the same time they make comments on the floor about the stupidity of the students. It’s disgusting. It’s also good to know they push the value of the degrees but those in the highest levels of Management for Online don’t even have anything besides High School themselves.
Buyer Beware. There are cheaper colleges with better reputations. Look for Non-Profit and Regional Accreditation. Irony is that Stevens Henager Salt Lake Offices for online and corporate is in the building next to Western Governors University. WGU is online, regionally and nationally accredited, well respected, and will cost you about $27K for the same Bachelors Stevens Henager has at $70K or 80K. Grand Canyon University is another really good online school. Don’t trust Stevens Henager or any of the For Profits. For Profit… this means some CEO is living high on the hog on your money, feeding off mostly people at the poverty level who will never escape the debt they just sunk themselves in, and student loan money that pushes the Government farther into debt as we sink to an AA+ Credit Rating. I think people like that deserve a quick trip to Hell for eternity.
PS They also won’t tell you school is free the first month. If you drop out, or leave, you don’t owe a penny. They intentionally don’t tell the students this so people don’t take advantage of it.

This article was taken from http://www.stevenshenagertruth.blogspot.com/

Comments from Publishers:

Online universities and colleges have become a very popular alternative for many students today pursuing further education. Unfortunately, many of the online universities that are on the educational landscape today are by every definition, diploma mills. By definition a diploma mill is a school that provides college diplomas to students whose primary educational achievement is applying for and receiving federal student aid. Schools such as Stevens Henager College, College America, California College of San Diego, Independence College, Kaplan University, University of Phoenix online and a host of other dishonest ‘for profit’ universities are raking in the federal student aid dollars while delivering below academic educations to tens of thousands of students today.

Many students of online schools such as Stevens Henager College, often laugh and joke with each other about how easy their classes are and how they don’t have to do much other than logging in to their schools online learning portal three or four days a week to pass their classes. Unfortunately, most of these morons are not aware of the fact that when they get out of school (the time period that federal student aid requires for the diploma mill to suck out every last penny of the students’ loans) their new sheepskins are not worth the paper they are written on to most companies they may apply to. To add further insult to injury, many students in the future may decide to further their education only to discover that no legitimate university in the world will accept their credits from a diploma mill.

Speaking from personal experience, I have conversed through email and phone conversations with many teachers at Stevens Henager College over the past two years of my enrollment. The majority of them have told me that they are often threatened with termination for failing to pass students who do nothing more than log in to their student portal four or more times a week. Please consider the following email from an instructor of our senior publisher:

From: Jennifer Sorensen [mailto:Email@SchoolEmail.org]
Sent: Tuesday, March 05, 2013 7:59 PM
Subject: RE: ENG101-O15-006-ON-English Composition-2:2013: LIVE Class Session Today 5:30-6:30 MT
I appreciate your opinion. However, it is a one-time thing. Of those who attended, only two had late work. The assignment for last week was an email rather than a paper. They probably won’t post it by Saturday (And then they will lose points). My experience has been that those who do post late, don’t do A work. However, if it encouraged them to attend today, it might have been a good thing. Think of it this way, in most cases we are only taking about two to four points.

Remember, I am the lady who is in trouble for not passing enough people. Believe me, they have to do the work and most do not do A work before the late points.
Thanks for attending tonight. I do appreciate your contributions.

Jennifer Sorensen Stevens-Henager Online
Jennifer Sorensen, English Instructor Stevens Henager College Online
Jennifer Sorensen, English
Instructor Stevens Henager
College Online

Jennifer Sorensen is an instructor who teaches English at Stevens Henager College and at University of Phoenix. She is allegedly constantly in trouble with her superiors at Stevens Henager College for ‘balking’ at their insistence for her to give passing grades to students who refuse to turn in assignments and or participate in class. With all due consideration, any instructor who would correspond with a student revealing information about the performance of other students in her class and complaining about being ‘in trouble’ with her superiors, speaks volumes about how screwed-up Stevens Henager College actually is.
A very disturbing fact in this matter, is that the senior administration at Stevens Henager College has been furnished a copy of the aforementioned email, yet Jennifer Sorensen at the time of the writing of these comments, remains employed and teaching English (the same class) at Stevens Henager. It is apparent that said Administration is concerned with possible lawsuits and or complaints to state and federal departments of education, and termination of Sorensen’s employment would definitely indicate an admittance of guilt for Sorensen’s and said administrations unethical conduct.
Sorensen, allegedly at the insistence of her superiors, often bribes uninterested students to participate in her classes. Please consider the following email from Mrs. Sorensen:

From: Jennifer Sorensen [mailto:Email@SchoolEmail.org]
Sent: Tuesday, March 05, 2013 6:08 PM
Subject: ENG101-O15-006-ON-English Composition-2:2013: LIVE Class Session Today 5:30-6:30 MT

Please join me for tonight’s live session from 5:30-6:30 MT.

Come with your questions. We will discuss late work, the Week 2 assignments, prewriting, APA format, and selecting a topic for your paper. If you attend tonight’s live session and make up any late work you have before midnight this Saturday (MT), I will not take off any late points.

To better understand the aforementioned email, consider the fact that when this email was sent, many of the students she is bribing were 3 days late and several were 10 days late in turning in their assignments. Additionally, ‘this Saturday, provided 4 more days of tolerance of turning in late work for said students.
Many instructors for the most part do nothing more than grade papers and add a few form mail comments in the discussion groups. Live webinars for each class are conducted once a week, but very few students attend them and are not penalized for not doing so.

The publishers of Get off the BS stand united in informing all potential students of Stevens Henager College to do your research on any online university or college before enrolling with one or more of them. For current students, arguably you have a moral obligation to other students who may make the same mistake you have made in enrolling in Stevens Henager College, to file complaints with the US Department of Education and Utah State Board of Education concerning any unethical conduct you may have been and or currently experiencing with Stevens Henager.

Arguably, any business, college, university and or many other entities that conduct business online are going to be subject to some negative publicity. However, it is ridiculous to write off negative comments from consumers when there are literally 100′s of complaints written about Stevens Henager College which repeatedly promulgate the same three main points.
  1. Stevens Henager College does not provide a good education for its students,
  2. Stevens Henager College engages in unethical academic and business practices, and
  3. Stevens Henager College routinely lies to its prospective students during their admissions processes

Bribing students to promote the schools Facebook page is very unethical. Recently, the marketing group for Stevens Henager College promoted their Linkedin page using the following simmilar bait:

Taken from Stevens Henager College Facebook Page.  Photo courtesy of Facebook.

Taken from Stevens Henager College Facebook Page.
Photo courtesy of Facebook.
Some may argue, what is the big deal about the encouraging of students to promote the schools Facebook and Linkedin pages ? Arguably, most people would say that there is absolutely nothing wrong about encouraging students through bribes of money and school apparel to promote the schools advertising. Yet, when unsuspecting students are duped through bribes of money and apparel to unknowingly and falsely promote the schools alleged creditability to other prospective students, this practice is highly unethical. Certainly, no one could possibly argue that an outstanding educational institution would ever have to pay their students to promote their school. To believe such a fallacy would be the same as believing that Tom Hanks and or Julia Roberts have to bribe people to click the ‘like’ icon on their Facebook pages.

A blatant promulgation of what is most important to the Stevens Henager administration is their college web site. http://www.stevenshenager.edu The web site is definitely focused on new student enrollment versus the support of their current students and administration. Arguably, the SHCr web site falls short of what any college or university would consider ethical academic promotion and or support.

In comparing the school web site of Stephen Henager College with the web site of University of Phoenix, one of the first things prospective and current students are exposed to when entering the University of Phoenix web site, http://phoenix.edu that is absent on the SHC site, are links for students to access current student support services. Though both universities web sites primarily focus on recruiting new students, the University of Phoenix web site provides their current students many links to student services, including log in to their student learning portals. The SHC web site appears to be void of any links to student services.

Stephens Henager College is a professionally marketed and advertised business masquerading as an educational institution. Numerous complaints from current and former students and employees of the college, attest that Stevens Henager College is primarily focused on making huge profits from their students, yet providing education as a very distant priority. Admissions advisors are routinely pressured by their superiors to use whatever means are available to them, including prevaricating to students, to enroll as many students as they can at SHC.
Additionally, the SHC administration routinely orders the schools instructors to pass failing students long enough to obtain the maximum funding the school can receive through the failing students federally backed student loans and Pell grants. Arguably, many of the instructors are not qualified to teach the courses they teach and for the most part, provide very little instruction to their students.

used toilet paper

Stevens Henager College has applied for regional accreditation on numerous occasions. The Department of Education in Utah will not accredit Stevens Henager due to their unethical business / academic practices and horrible course presentations. Though SHC is nationally accredited, national accreditation is very easy to obtain. The former national accreditation of Kaplan University, propounds this point. Regardless, a diploma from Stevens Henager College is worth about as much to a student seeking employment or enrolling in a graduate program at a reputable university, as a piece of used toilet paper.

Related information: (Don’t just take our word for it)
Stevenshenagertruth, blogspot, http://www.stevenshenagertruth.blogspot.com/