Beware of Grantham Financing

Discussion in 'General Distance Learning Discussions' started by billbart63, May 12, 2005.

  1. billbart63

    billbart63 New Member

    I am a DL student at Grantham. I like the format and flexibility they offer but I have discovered a problem with their tuition financing that I believe other students there should be aware of.

    I am a veteran and use the Montgomery G.I. Bill to pay for my tuition. However, because the VA only pays this money on a monthly basis, I must either come up with the full amount of the tuition or use the financing options, which I did. I used the financial aid for the first time this past semester.

    As I received my benefits from the VA, I applied it towards the loan. Now, when the semester is over, I find out that, although I would like to pay off the balance of my loan a full seven months early, I still have to pay the entire amount of the finance charge (a fact that was not disclosed to me previously, which is against the law). I was told that I could roll up the balance from this loan into the loan for the next semester if I would like. BUT, if I do that, now I am paying a finance charge on top of a finance charge.

    The Grantham veterans enrollment form states there is a 17.9% APR associated with Plan C that amounts to $432.82 annual finance charge on a principal balance of $2418 for a total of $2850.82 for a 12 month loan.

    When I did the math, I discovered that the 17.9% APR disclosed on the agreement is not even close to being correct. On a loan of $2418 for 12 months, an APR 17.9% would equate to $240.18 NOT $432.82. If you do a reverse calculation using the amount of stated finance charges, the APR amounts to approximately 31.9%.

    This is significantly greater than what is disclosed on the enrollment agreement that I, and I am sure, countless others have signed and have been held accountable too. What I found is that if I do a simple calculation of multiplying the principal ($2418) times 17.9%, I derive the “finance charges” of $432.82. This DOES NOT meet the Truth-In-Lending Act's definition of how APRs are derived and disclosed.

    I believe this practice is in serious violation of federal consumer protection laws pertaining to the Truth-In-Lending Act. I further believe that this problem has potentially affected every student that has used the tuition financing options and amounts to massive amounts of fraud, or at the very least gross negligence.

    Grantham’s responses have been slow and inadequate to address the problem. One of the last responses said they fixed the enrollment forms. All they did was remove the reference to APR which in a previous email to me they said was added inadvertently. The Truth-in-Lending Act requires all finance charges to be expressed as an Annual Percentage Rate, a detail that they cannot seem to understand at GU. Additionally there was no mention about the prepayment penalty. Unbelievable!! This university offers an MBA program and their Director of Financial Services does not even understand consumer credit laws.

    I plan to file a complaint with the State Attorney Generals Offices of Texas and Louisiana and may seek other options as well. I would be interested to hear from other students who have had this problem with Grantham ([email protected]), especially if you brought it to their attention. I am curious how they responded previously.
  2. David Boyd

    David Boyd New Member

    Have you tried directing your comments directly to the president of the institution?

    If your facts are correct, I believe that Grantham administration would be thankful that the matter was brought to their attention.
  3. marilynd

    marilynd New Member

    I agree with David. Go to the president and/or financial VP of the school to try to get this resolved. If not successful, then file a complaint with the Attorney General's office and state department of education.

    You will get farther with government agencies if you have exhausted all attempts to rectify the situation with school officials.

  4. billbart63

    billbart63 New Member

    Thanks for the replies. I have scoured their website for contact information od the Dean or President but could not find anything.

    My first communication with the school was through my counselor. I asked her to send it to the appropriate persons for resolution. It was sent to several people within the college and was eventuially answered by the Director of Financial Services for the University. Here is one of her responses:

    You are correct in stating that our enrollment application has language that could be interpreted as misleading. Thank you for bringing this matter to our attention.

    APR was inadvertently added to the agreement. The language on our enrollment agreements will be revised by May 1, 2005.

    TFC was correct in stating there is no reduction in finance charges for prepayment of the tuition. However, for your time and inconvenience we will adjust your balance to $1,386.88 which coincides with the amortization schedule you submitted.

    We hope this makes your “Grantham experience” more pleasant.

    Well, it did not make my "Grantham experience" more pleasant.

    She obviously has no clue what the Truth-in-Lending Act says. They MUST state finance charges as an APR. It is meant to provide the consumer with a standardized measuring stick to compare loan rates between companies. Their solution was to simply remove the APR reference. They are not even close to complying with credit disclosure laws. They are either intentionally engaging in fradulent practices or are grossly negligent. Either way, they are breaking the TIL laws and I have communicated this to them on several occasions since this whole thing started, to no avail.
  5. David Boyd

    David Boyd New Member

    According to the "News" section of their website, Roy Winter is the President.

    Since e-mails often don't get through, I would FAX your concerns and follow-up with a certiifed letter.

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