Vista College alumni say class action lawsuit gives them hope
COLLEGE STATION, Texas (KBTX) – When College Station’s Vista College campus abruptly closed its doors for good on October 8, some former students said they felt hopeless to get back the things they had sacrificed to take courses.
Kolin Wilkins and Alexis Cruz are two of these former students. Wilkins was only five weeks away from graduation, while Cruz was literally three days away from graduation. Neither received any responses on eligibility for tuition reimbursement or credit transfer.
“I felt really hopeless back then,” Wilkins said. “I gave them my benefits, my time, my money, my energy, and I have nothing to show for it. They won’t even call me for my transcripts. They just didn’t care. They were like, ‘Yeah, it’s over. Had finished. We could find something, but it’s over.
They regained some of that hope after learning that a proposed class action lawsuit was filed against the school and its parent company Education Futures Group on Tuesday.
“Let me get on board,” Cruz said of his initial reaction upon hearing about the costume. “Only because it is very expensive to go to this school.”
Wilkins and Cruz have already contacted the lawyers involved. Timothy Ferguson is one of the lawyers who filed a lawsuit alleging that Vista College lied about what it could offer students and violated its contractual obligations.
“These students didn’t make this deal to get half, three-quarters or one-third of their education. They got this deal because they were promised all education, ”Ferguson said. “They said they were going to stop enrollment on ground campuses, but don’t worry because we’re going to stay open long enough to complete your classes, your program, and ultimately your education. Well, that didn’t happen.
Ferguson says they are asking for more than just a tuition refund from students who think they qualify.
“We are asking for the reimbursement of the gas money, the supply money, what about the lost time? Ferguson said. “People say you can never get enough money and you can never get enough time, okay. Time is a precious thing. It is a precious commodity.
Ferguson says that while there are aspects unique to this case, it’s a playbook he’s seen before of these type of for-profit education businesses, putting their concerns about money on the education they promised to the students.
“It’s important because it keeps happening, and it keeps happening to good people, to people who all they want is to get better,” Ferguson said. “All they want is to find a job. All they want to do is get an education.
Wilkins is an Army veteran who says he spent over 50% of his GI Bill benefits at Vista College, which works out between $ 20,000 and $ 40,000. He was working to become a medical insurance coder and biller for the Department of Veterans Affairs or Baylor Scott & White. Wilkins says he’s had to put many of his plans on hold as he explores ways to get his money back and transfer his credits to other schools.
He says getting involved in the class action is almost more about holding the school accountable for what it did.
“We were held accountable for our grades, for our attendance, for our share of the money that we gave the school to take these classes, and they didn’t keep their promises at all,” Wilkins said. . “We were told, ‘Hey, if you’re already enrolled you’re going to be able to graduate, no problem.'”
Cruz says she racked up about $ 23,000 in debt to attend Vista College. She worked in the dental assisting program.
“We shouldn’t be left without answers. We need answers. We deserve answers, ”said Cruz. “We went to school in hopes of getting an education, furthering our careers and supporting our families, and that is just not the case right now. “
KBTX has contacted Jim Tolbert, CEO of Education Futures Group, but has yet to hear back.
The law firm Ferguson and Bailey Reyes are the two legal groups involved in this class action lawsuit.
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