Good afternoon, my name is Kenneth Shaw. I served in the Navy and the Army.

I attended Argosy University’s Dallas campus from 2013 to 2018 in their online business program. I completed all courses in late 2018 but the school withheld my diploma. Argosy then closed in March 2019.

During recruitment, Argosy said they’re highly ranked and selective. After I enrolled, I realized this was just a misleading sales tactic—the school let in people who hadn’t passed the GED and couldn’t handle college-level work. The school especially preyed on people who they knew wouldn’t be able to pass the classes because admissions counselors had to meet quotas or risk getting fired. It was common for some of my classmates to not even have a computer or access to the internet.

The school also created a false urgency to enroll. I was told that classes fill up fast, but it turned out they would let anyone sign up. Once I started attending classes, I realized the class size was far too large for the instructors to effectively teach us, and it was clear they were overwhelmed. That meant each student received limited attention from the instructors. 

The school never told me the exact cost or even an estimate for the program. It was unclear what I was being charged for, and I rarely got an answer when I asked. In contrast, the school was super proactive when asking students to pay for something. Because of the lack of transparency, I used up my GI bill faster than I expected, and got saddled with $52,000 in federal student loans.

I was promised during recruiting that despite my program being online, the curriculum would simulate the feel of a classroom. In reality, there was no live instruction or syllabus. When I logged into the course portal, I just saw assignments I had to complete. For questions, I had to email the instructor and didn’t always get an answer. We were also told to use a very outdated software for class projects that other schools and the industry don’t use. I had to pay for expensive books, but those books were never used for classes or even remotely relevant to assignments.

I was also promised there would be a tutoring program. However, the tutors had no expertise. Because of inadequate instruction and tutoring, I had to retake several classes. I even had to take four classes that weren’t required. The school later explained it as an error, but that was just an excuse and part of a larger pattern at the school to stretch out a student’s attendance so the school could rake in more GI Bill money and student loans.

I hope that you write strong policies so that only schools with robust teaching quality have access to federal student loans.

Review by Friday COB Kenneth Shaw NegReg March 15 2022 testimony