Benny D.'s review of DeVry Institute

DeVry Institute

Customer Reviews & Ratings
Complaint Posted 9/2/2012
. 1
. 0
Review of DeVry from a Former Employee
I worked for DeVry in the early 90’s for approximately three and a half years. I was an Administgrator and taught courses as well. During that time I witnessed enough irregularities to convince me that no one should attend that school or any school like it. I knew going in to that job the reputation for-profit schools had; I accepted the position because at that time in California, budget cuts had left the community colleges only hiring part-time, and since I was single I could not afford to live on a part-time salary. DeVry offered me a full-time position contingent on my obtaining a Master’s Degree, which, thankfully, they paid for through tuition reimbursement (I attended Cal State). So there were some good things about working there. The things that disturbed me were that, for one, the “entrance test” that was being used to place students was a pure math test; it had no English components to it at all, so, given that Chinese and other Asian students tend to score higher on math tests, they were placed in higher level English sections. As many of them were second language learners whose English was subpar for starting college, most flunked their first DeVry English course. This lengthened the purported time it took to get through DeVry, thus negating the Admissions Reps’ claims that “With DeVry you can get through faster than at the state school.” Routinely, the decisions of the Admissions Reps, who were really nothing more than salespeople, trumped those of the educators. If the Admissions Rep wanted the student in, the student got in. They would usually say something like, “He only missed it by 5 pts – let him in” etc. I even saw one Admissions Rep forge student high school diplomas to get students in. They regularly told students things that were outright lies, and then, when I and other educators attempted to set the record straight, we were painted to be the proverbial bad guys who didn’t want to let the student in. In actuality, admitting a student who is not prepared to a very costly school, only to watch him/her flunk out, is the cruelest thing one can do. Ironically, almost always, their painting people like me and other concerned, honest educators in a bad light usually worked, because of the students’ lack of maturity, and their desperation to get through quickly and “get a ticket to a super high paying job.” The students often really did believe that the admissions rep was the knight in shining armor, who, despite those meanies in the education department, was going to “get them in.” To their credit, while I was there, DeVry began implementing the Accuplacer entrance test (one of the first computerized entrance tests) which had English and math sections, in cooperation with Princeton ETS, after I and several other educators fought for it. Then, to our dismay, the passing score for entrance was set extremely low. I cannot remember, but it was so low that if you merely selected random answers, more often than not, you passed. I tried this many times: I just kept clicking “a” all the way through and passed. (I think it was like 3 or 4% - max 10% correct answers to pass, or something like that.) I remember one specific case, involving a foreign student, who really should not have been at DeVry, (he was very classroom ready – very smart and academic – but a foreigner who did not know the American system). He mentioned to me – actually made it common knowledge, that upon graduating from DeVry he planned to go on to get a Master’s at UCLA. I was pretty sure just from my general knowledge of the educational field that DeVry courses and/or the degree would not transfer or count at a school like UCLA, so I decided to call the university and find out. When evaluating degrees and credit, there is the question of if they will accept the degree, and then there is the question of if they will accept any of the courses, so that if the student does have to start over with another degree, at least they can get credit for some of the courses. I spoke to the Admissions department at UCLA several times, and asked about this. They told me flat out that they would not recognize a DeVry “degree” AT ALL – and would not give credit for any of the courses taken at DeVry – not a single one. They told me that as far as they were concerned, DeVry was a vocational school. I let them know that now, DeVry offers a “Bachelor’s Degree.” They said that no, to them this was vocational education, along the lines of a technical college. This was not a surprise to me, but I wanted to be sure so that I could inform this student. I knew he had been duped; I knew he was going to get the surprise of his life after $30,000 and three years at DeVry. He had been told when he enrolled at DeVry, by Admissions, that he could continue on and get a Master’s at almost any school of his choice, with no problem, provided his grades were good. I took this student to the side and gently suggested that perhaps he should consider another school if he planned to continue on to UCLA, as I didn’t think they would let him transfer in the courses, let alone recognize the degree. He told me, “Oh no, the Admissions department assured me I can continue on. I plan to go to UCLA.” As I mentioned, this student was very bright, very classroom ready - somewhat older than the typical DeVry student. What he lacked was an understanding of the U.S. educational ambiance; he was a foreigner. I believe he already had a degree from his country, and just needed a degree here for the engineering field he planned to work in. At any rate, I let him know that I had checked and that DeVry’s degree would not be recognized at UCLA. To my surprise, he got indignant with me. He insisted this could not be true. It was almost as if he was angry with me for being a naysayer. Later that week, he told me he had gone to the DeVry Records office and THEY too had assured him his degree and courses would indeed transfer to UCLA. He said he “had spoken to a M___e” in records who assured him of this. M___e was a secretary/receptionist, which I told him. He seemed to be angry with me; perhaps he was just upset because on some level he suspected it may be true and didn’t want to believe it. I can’t be sure. But finally, I had to just give up and tell him, “Look, I am only trying to help you. If you wish to continue here go right ahead. I just thought you would like to know that you will have to start all over if and when you apply to UCLA.” I never knew what ended up happening to that student but I know by now he has had the surprise of his life to learn that the “degree”’ that cost him $30,000 or more was essentially worthless for transfer to UCLA. (By the way; I subsequently called the State University in California, who said they would not recognize the DeVry degree either, but that they would recognize some of the courses.) One hopes he and others like him were able to move on to a state school, start over, and get the preparation they needed, which would take much more time but be a lot cheaper. But my point in writing this is that as a person who truly cares about education, working in a school such as DeVry, ironically, you were frequently seen as the bad guy, while the Admissions Reps came off ‘smelling like a rose.’ In the students’ eyes, you were the one saying “No,”– kind of like a parent who says “No” to a child. The Admissions Reps, in contrast, would “get them in” – so they were the heroes. And the Admissions Reps could and did feed off of that, to the students’ peril. As I recall the tuition was extremely high; I believe at that time it was over $10-12K a year, if I am not mistaken. So students were admitted who should not have been, and then placed in a too-high English class only to flunk it and have to continually retake it. When the student could not cut it, he or she then dropped out, with a huge student loan to pay off (if they stayed more than a few days or weeks, I cannot remember which, the full amount of tuition – several thousand dollars, for that semester was due), so now the student had a huge debt to pay back and no education to show for it. This meant they were in default for a student loan too, so now, even if they did want to begin study at a respectable school, they could not because they had defaulted on a student loan. This was not even mentioning the fact that their credit was now ruined. The majority of the students were younger, poor, from inner-city areas, and thus vulnerable to fast talking high pressure salespersons (Admissions Reps). If not that profile, they were foreigners who did not know the American system, and did not realize that these for-profit schools are a new fangled, unorthodox concoction, not recognized as true education in any respectable academic circles. They pretty much admitted any warm bodies that could pay the tuition. There was a joke in Admissions, that they enrolled based on “The Mirror Test”: You hold up a mirror to the student’s nose and mouth, and if it steams up, they are in. Once admitted, the student would have had to burn the building down to get kicked out. As long as the student’s money was green, he or she stayed. I saw students disrespect professors, curse them out, etc., – only to be sent right back to the classroom if they were a paying student. You pretty much had no authority as a professor because they were loathe to kick anyone out since that meant a loss of tuition money. DeVry does not mention in advertising and in their Admissions sales speeches the overwhelming numbers of students that drop out (flunk out) before the first year is up, most of whom should have never been admitted in the first place. If I remember correctly, the first semester about 20% would drop, then the second semester another 10 or 15% would drop, and then a similar amount would drop the third semester. (At DeVry they were trimesters). I am almost positive (it has been a while so bear with me) that about half of the incoming students were gone by the end of the first calendar year. The graduation rates overall were around 36%, but then again, this was about the same graduation percentage for the community colleges in California at that time. The difference is, however, that - at that time anyway - the community college courses were about $40 a credit, while DeVry was many thousands of dollars. As far as placing the students in jobs, note that, about 5 to 10% of DeVry students do actually do quite well, but it is not because of DeVry; in fact, you may say it is in spite of DeVry. There is a percentage of students who attend DeVry who could have gone almost anywhere they wanted – certainly to the State school and many to a private, more rigorous school, but for whatever reason chose to study at DeVry. The night students, for example, were frequently in this category – but also a percentage of day students. Many night students already had a degree and wanted to get into something else, and do it more quickly. Oftentimes their employer was paying for the courses. These students were usually a bit older, and were more like adult learners – not as much like high school learners, like the typical DeVry student. DeVry parades these students around in a dog and pony show as evidence of how great their education is, but these students are atypical. They are not the usual student DeVry recruits from poorer inner city areas, or foreigners who do not know our system. For those students in this exceptional profile who got a job and did well, perhaps their study at DeVry was a good thing. But it is a mistake for one to believe that this is the typical DeVry experience, or that high percentages of DeVry students are placed in well-paying jobs. That was not the case. Moreover, many of the jobs were found in the Silicon Valley, which was brimming and thriving at that time – in fact there was a labor shortage. So DeVry’s placement efforts were really not that impressive considering that the Silicon Valley was chock full of jobs that employers were having a hard time filling. I also happen to remember that DeVry regularly took credit in its job placement percentages for any jobs that the students had upon graduation. In other words, if you were working part time delivering pizza, began study at DeVry and maintained this job at night, and when you graduated you still had this job, DeVry took credit for that job in its placement statistics. DeVry’s advertising brochures would state, “Here at DeVry, x% of our students have jobs upon graduation.” They did not advertise that DeVry found jobs for x% of the students, but rather that x% of the students had jobs upon graduation. So this is misleading. By the way, the pizza delivery job example is a real-life example that I remember well, which led me to question how they could have the placement stats that they did. I could go on and on but suffice it to say that yes, these schools are a huge rip-off and a disgrace to what education should be. It appalls me that they continue to thrive as they do.
Was this review helpful? (0)
Send Message to Reviewer
Report abuse
How To edit your review
Additional Business Information
Hours   Phone   Address   One Tower Lane
Oakbrook Terrace, IL 60181-4624
Website Email  
Contact   New Contact Other  
© Copyright 2017 TrustLink All Rights Reserved.