Good afternoon. My name is Allison Johnson and I’m a veteran of the U.S. Army. I am here today because I want you to know how for-profit colleges like Keiser University take advantage of disabled veterans.
Shortly after leaving the military, I enrolled at Keiser to further my education and transition to civilian life.
Though I am grateful for the opportunity to serve my country and have many great memories of my time in the Army, serving in the military also involved difficult experiences that left a lasting impact on my mental health.
This January, my doctor recommended that I take time off from Keiser so I could get the mental health treatment I needed.
Everything started out fine. I requested a medical leave of absence and provided the documentation from my healthcare provider that the school requested. The Associate Dean notified me in writing that my request was approved and that I would not be charged for courses that term.
But a couple weeks later, my online account showed I was still registered for classes. I contacted the Associate Dean again, and she said not to worry. She confirmed that I had been withdrawn from my classes, placed on medical leave, and would not be charged. It seemed odd that my account still showed I was enrolled, but I thought I could trust the dean.
But then, a month later, my academic advisor asked why I had not logged into my classes that term. I forwarded the emails showing I was approved for a leave of absence, but no one paid any attention.
Soon the financial aid office was telling me that in addition to using my Pell Grant, I would need to tell the VA that I took classes that term so they would give me benefits, or else I would have to pay $5,000 out-of-pocket to the school. I was shocked and upset.
I would never ask the VA to pay for classes I didn’t take, so I am continuing to urge Keiser to remove the charges for classes they assured me were taken off my schedule. Instead of being able to use my medical leave of absence to work on my mental health, I’ve spent weeks dealing with this issue. It has been so stressful that my mental health is actually worse than before.
Keiser preys on disabled veterans like me because they think they can get away with it. The Department of Education must prove them wrong.
Please prioritize the wellbeing of disabled veterans over for-profit executives who are just trying to make a buck. If the Department of Education doesn’t do more to regulate for-profit schools, disabled veterans will continue to pay the price. Thank you.Allison Johnson NegReg Statement March 2022