Reporting Kurtis Ming
An expensive Sacramento college changed class times in the middle of the program. Students put in a bind called Kurtis to investigate.
The change at Anthem College forced about 300 students to make a decision: rearrange their lives or give up their dreams.
Studying for a life in the operating room, Jessica Naten and Krystal Haskins want to be surgical techs. They paid more than $28,000 for their education.
“I definitely want to pursue a mission in Honduras doing cleft palates for children,” said Naten.
But 10 months into the 13-month Anthem College program, the school dropped Friday classes, making up for it by extending classes Monday through Thursday. The change has forced several students to drop out and is pulling Krystal from her part-time job.
“And now I have to work even less hours,” said Haskins.
“I did go in and talk to the dean of our school. She had no response to me as to how it affects our lives,” said Naten.
We learned career colleges can’t just change class hours in the middle of a program without student approval. It’s against the law, under California’s Private Postsecondary Education Act of 2009.
“They have to get the approval of 90 percent of the students in that class and then they have to be able and willing to offer refunds for that class to the 10 percent or however many did not agree to it,” said Russ Heimerich, a spokesman for the Bureau for Private Postsecondary Education.
Naten and Haskins say a vote in September failed. And in May, they say the school announced the changes without another vote, and never offered the option of a refund.
“It seems like they just don’t, they really don’t care,” said Haskins.
When we contacted Anthem College, they told us they did hold a vote and told us privacy reasons kept them from giving us the proof 90 percent of the students signed off on the time change.
Unwilling to give up on their dreams, Naten and Haskins were able to do what not everyone could; rearrange their schedules to keep attending class.
“I can’t quit my job, can’t quit school… I’ll just have to go with it for now,” said Haskins.
Anthem told us a majority of students filled out consent forms in May. But on the day our story aired, Naten said she received a form that says “Changes in session times effective June 25th, 2012.” That effective date was two weeks after she received the form.
The form asked Naten to select one of two new session times. Nowhere on it did it give her the choice. Only when she asked what happens if she didn’t sign it did the school then say she could get a refund. She’s weighing her options.
Naten and Haskins have filed complaints with the Bureau for Private Postsecondary Education.