KCBD INVESTIGATES: Vista College - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

KCBD INVESTIGATES: Vista College

LUBBOCK, TX (KCBD) -

More developments have unfolded in an investigation KCBD NewsChannel 11 brought you earlier this month surrounding a local trade school. More students have come forward, asking that Vista College credit them for the hours they attended school.

KCBD NewsChannel 11 obtained documents from the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation Compliance Division. 

The failed inspection reports show specific detailed accounts from other students who did not receive proper credit for their hours.Several more students say they have been withdrawn from the program unlawfully and that this entire process is costing them a lot more than they ever imagined.

"Basically from the very beginning, from way back when I started in the Cosmetology program, there has always been a mix up with the hours at Vista," said former Cosmetology student Kari Vanbrunt.  "I don't know if it's a manipulation thing or a clock thing."

Vanbrunt said more than two months worth of hours was not applied to her grades.  She said since her program is graded by hours, she has not received her financial aid in a timely manner.

"They're shorting us hours so we can repeat CTs so we have to pay Vista more money when they've already been paid," said Vanbrunt.

According to the school catalog, "students whose absences exceed 15% of the hours in the course will be advised in writing to improve their attendance rate."

Vanbrunt said she was never advised.

In fact, according to the TLRC, Vista College received violations for their "failure to properly account for credited hours" for various students.

Another student who did not wish to go on camera shared her records with conflicting information regarding her hours.  She said the rapid turnover in staff makes it difficult to get a straight answer.

Former Vista College Medical Assistant student Estolia Flores said her instructors did not inform her that she failed a course. 

"I asked, can I see my grade," said Flores.  "They said sure.   I never did see my grade."

It was not until she came in for the next semester that she was told she had to retake a class.

Amber Kelly decided to take her education online when she and her husband moved two hours away.  However, according to Kelly, Vista College said she had to withdraw, then re enroll, which would thousands of dollars.  She said keeping a solid paper trail saved her from paying that added enrollment fee.

"I would advise other students, that they need to stand their ground," said Kelly.  "They really need to stay in contact with financial aid and watch what they're charging you.  Pay attention to every detail.  If they tell you something in the beginning and they change their story, you need to document it.  You need to document everything," said Kelly.  "If you don't document it, it didn't happen."

After two weeks, Vista College responded to KCBD NewsChannel 11 Monday with the following statement: 

"While a misunderstanding with regard to the proper tracking of student hours has drawn recent attention Vista College has followed Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation rules and in no case has improperly charged its students additional tuition to make up class hours or to retake courses."

In a confidential email, a former Vista College employee claimed their recruiting practices are "unethical."  The former employee said it was a regular occurrence for administration to allow a student to retake the placement test until they passed.  The former administrator said these students were admitted, even knowing they "will probably not finish the program."

"They already made it clear to me that I'm not coming back until I pay them the $4,600 dollars," said Flores.  "So, there's no way that I'm going to be able to afford that, so I guess I already lost whatever credits I have with them."

The provided statement by Education Futures Group COO, Alan Clay said: "Vista College remains true to its mission of educating busy working adults with the career skills they need to get ahead."

Regardless, some students said will continue to seek their education elsewhere, even if they are not credited the hours they actually served in the classroom.

Copyright 2012 KCBD. All rights reserved

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