My experiences with the financial aid office have ranged from being mildly annoyed to being deliberately lied to concerning my financial aid. The employees will not speak clearly on the phone, their people skills are non-existent, they are rude, ignorant, and condescending; not only that, but they act terminally offended when expected to actually do their job and help a student.
Today, however, Kaplan reached a new low. For the last three weeks, employee after employee has assured me that my stipend would be received and sent out to me "any day now." On Friday, June 25th, I noticed that the date for the stipend's scheduled disbursement had changed to July 23rd.
When I called to talk about this, I was stonewalled and given the run-a-round by an employee and the manager that I talked to after that. I was told that the disbursement had been "delayed," that 5,900 students had been affected, and that the stipend couldn't be "escalated" until July 16th, at the earliest.
However, when I logged on the next morning I saw that the disbursement had been received by Kaplan on Friday, the 25th, and that the scheduled date had been changed from July 23rd back to June 16th, for some reason. I called this afternoon, (6/28), to find out when my stipend would be mailed out, now that the credit balance is showing on my account.
The first person I spoke with refused to answer any of my questions; all she would say was to call back next Monday if it had not been sent out by Friday. I told her this was unacceptable and that I wanted to know what the delay was; I explained that they had no right to hang onto money that belonged to me. She continued to stonewall me, so I hung up.
I called back later, as I was not willing to let this rest.
This is my student loan money, and I have the right to have access to all information concerning my financial aid. I had more luck with the second person I spoke with. She informed me that accounts were being reviewed - apparently the 5,900 students who were affected by the "delay" are actually being reviewed.
She thought that the Department of Education might have requested the review, or that Kaplan was reviewing them to make sure they were in compliance.She told me that there had been a meeting that morning informing all employees to not answer student's questions - to stonewall and confuse, in other words - and to not direct any of those calls to the manager. I told her that those methods weren't right, and she agreed.
She informed me that the money is there, it is in my account. I informed her that I would be going to all of my social networking sites, which include connections to many Kaplan students, and that I would be letting them know that employees of the financial aid office have been instructed to lie and deliberately not give out any information to students concerning their expected stipends.
If a review was in order, then Kaplan had the obligation to let the students who were affected by this know about it in a straightforward and honest manner. The fact that they feel they have to keep students in the dark, to actually instruct employees to lie to students about this, implies that they have something to hide.
I would not recommend Kaplan unless they can manage to completely rebuild their financial aid office from the ground up, by getting rid of the employees who won't do their jobs, then letting the other employees know they are there to HELP the students; anyone who doesn't want to do their job could easily be replaced by one of the millions of jobless people in our society.
At the very least, it makes me question the quality of the education I am receiving, and whether or not I am throwing money away for a degree that won't be worth the paper it's printed on. If a university runs their financial aid office this haphazardly, with such an absence of professionalism, it seriously calls into question the quality and ultimate purpose of the entire university.