Thank you for the opportunity to allow me to share a bit about my not-so-great experience at Fisk University. My name is Sharon Kaye Edwards, and for the longest time, I put off going to college while supporting my husband’s 21-year army career. My desire to go to college was to study and get a degree that allowed me to help others. In 2019, I saw an article online and a flyer for the new Fisk University Clarksville Extended Site advertising the Online Human Development Leadership Bachelor’s degree.

I reached out to a recruiter about that degree and was told that I would receive that degree in 2 years, with no core classes. Fisk University’s Facebook Page confirmed the 2-year time length as well. No time during the recruiting process was it mentioned an associate degree was needed to be enrolled in this program.

I was 59 years old, and this was my first time attending college so this was all new to me. I enrolled in the online program under the impression that I was in a two-year Human Development Leadership Bachelor’s degree program receiving my BS degree, which would be only 60 credit hours and not requiring any core classes. The enrollment process felt rushed, and I found myself signing a lot of forms. Onboarding the forms was strictly via email/phone. Doing the enrollment process Fisk requested a high school transcript. It was sent along with my high school diploma, and they were uploaded to Fisk University.

I had been at Fisk University for 4 months without an advisor for my major, I had to request one. After the completion of 58 credits, I met with my advisor to see my next step for graduation. I was approaching my 60 credit hours. The advisor for the first time informed me that the Human Development Leadership BS Degree was a 120-hour degree, and it was a requirement to have an associate degree prior to being enrolled in this program, that I would have to complete an additional 62 hours more to obtain that degree.

I felt deceived, discouraged, devastated, and disappointed when this happened. I left Fisk. It took me two years to find my next step of starting over at Austin Peay University. The gap between what the school promised and what the school delivered left me with $14,000 dollars of debt and used up half of the GI Bill benefits I had been granted.

Accreditors need to make sure colleges and universities are upfront and clear about what  they offer, from recruitment to graduation. We need more oversight and accountability tostop this kind of experience from happening to other students.

Thank you for your time.

Sharon Edwards Comments