Good Afternoon. My name is David Reyasbautista. I am a Marine Corps veteran and am here to tell my story in the hope that you make sure others do not experience what happened to me at WyoTech.
I attended WyoTech’s auto mechanic school in Long Beach between 2011 and 2012. I learned about WyoTech from a TV show that featured veterans wearing WyoTech uniforms who landed great auto mechanic jobs.
The advertisements depicted state-of-the-art equipment and teachers who were industry experts. In reality, WyoTech provided unserviceable tools. Teachers were not interested in teaching and only cared about collecting paychecks. Some were even clearly drunk during class.
WyoTech recruiters promised me that my GI Bill would cover the full cost of my education. This was a big factor in my decision to enroll there because I did not have the money to make up for any shortfall.
Shortly before graduation, I was told that I must take out student loans in order to graduate because the GI Bill only covered 70% of the total costs. I was told that I was going to be kicked out of school the same day if I did not take out loans.
My education counsellor, who was aware of difficulties in my personal life, asked me what my kids would think if I didn’t finish school. She said I would be a “failure” if I didn’t sign the loan documents.
WyoTech also failed to deliver the career services it promised. Recruiters told me the school would help me with resume writing and job search. The Career Services staff at WyoTech did nothing except tell me to bring my resume to businesses. When I did that, employers would show me the door as soon as I said “WyoTech.” One company told me that my degree was a “$30,000 worthless piece of paper.” I was unable to find work after graduation.
When I graduated I had $3400 in student loans. I struggled to make payments for years. It wasn’t until a decade after I graduated that I learned about borrower defense and got my loans discharged. But I never should have gone through that. The school never should have been allowed to offer this terrible and costly program.
My experiences are not unique, as many other veterans’ lives are ruined by for-profit schools like WyoTech. I now have no GI bill left. Even with my loans forgiven, I still don’t see a way to improve my life. It’s excruciating because I know I can put it to better use if I had a second chance. I hope the Education Department will consider my story as you design new rules to better protect student-veterans and curb abuses like those by WyoTech.Revised David Reyasbautista January NegReg Testimony