West Michigan student joins nationwide debt strike; refuses to pay student loans

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GRAND RAPIDS, Mich.-- A woman who attended Everest Institute in Grand Rapids is now refusing to pay her student loan debt, claiming the for-profit college misled students.

Mallory Heiney is part of the Corinthian 15, a national group raising awareness about America's student loan debt crisis.

At 21 years old, she has nearly $30,000 in student loan debt for a licensed practical nurse diploma she received from Everest.

In 2013, she went to the college to inquire about the program. She said the enrollment process was rushed and filled with empty promises.

"She assured me I would not be paying on my loans through school," Heiney said. "Two months in, I get this bill for over $100. So, I go back in and ask and she says, 'Well, I told you, you wouldn't be paying on your loans through school...this is on the interest on your loans.'"

Heiney said it's those types of tactics that the school used on her and all other students.

She said the school even added in a new fee between semesters that forced students to either take out a third loan or drop out of the program.

"We were not allowed to get our books and we weren't allowed to be there if we didn't take out this other loan," she said.

To make matters worse, eight months into the program Heiney said she learned the school would be shutting down. She said she was given the options to continue to the program as is, transfer to another location or opt out of the program and get her money back.

"I don't know if anything you've told me is true because I've been lied to so much throughout this process, so my choice is option three," Heiney said she told the school's president.

But, two weeks after filling out the paperwork she got a denial letter in the mail, stating she was too far into the program to get a refund.

The Corinthian 15 are working with Debt Collective out of New York. Everest is just one of the for-profit schools that belongs to Corinthian College Inc.

Last year, the Federal Consumer Financial Protection Board filed a lawsuit, claiming Corinthian lured in students with false claims and that they would strong arm them into making loan payments while still in school.

FOX 17 reached out to CCI, but never received a call back.

In 2014, the U. S. Department of Education wrote in a letter that it was denying CCI new school locations, saying the reason for doing so was because CCI admitted to falsifying placement rates and because of ongoing state and federal investigations.

Countless other schools under CCI have closed across the U.S. They're expected to be sold.

While Heiney understands the repercussions of not paying her loans, she said it's worth it.

"I'm not willing to just let my individual repercussions scare me into backing down," Heiney said. "There are too many people that can literally not stand up and say, 'this is wrong.'"



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  • Rebecca Miller

    This sounds oh so familiar. Same thing happen to me, I was forced to drop out because they wanted me to get added loans and I didn’t feel it was needed, I kept hearing different things from different people. I never got a clear answer as to what happened with my funds… I wasted two years and had to quit my last term, but now I am getting emails saying my student loans need to be paid off.

  • Wafa Haddad

    I am a victim of this school too,, since 2002 when i graduated from Everest “Olympia Career” i never got hired at all. No one acknowledged my Diploma or License.. I have to pay the loan too, but I am always below poverty level.. I never earned a penny from my Diploma.. I wish I can sue them.

    • Melissa

      I had the same problem .. I received my diploma and certificate in the program but wouldn’t be hired because it wasn’t an accredited school and I still have almost 10 thousand plus dollars in loans that I now have to go through a different loan company and no one speaks English so it’s like banging my head against a wall when talking to these people

  • Kenny

    I’m currently enrolled in the LPN program at Everest and we finish in April. I made the decision to go there knowing how pricey it was but I was able to pay cash for the program so I didn’t have to worry about interest and loans. I figured the longer I have to wait to become a nurse the more money I lose, so the bad outweighs the good since I can make up what I spent in a years worth of nursing. It irritates me that Everest gets a bad representation because it is an accredited program with great teachers and staff. I’ve learned a lot over the past year and any school of nursing is overseen by the state so whether you go to a large university or small institute, the curriculum, hours, and guidelines are all the same. With all that being said the only bad thing I have to say about Everest is the price and people who are dealing with loan issues. Otherwise I care about the facility and all my
    Classmates at Everest so be respectful towards the people that go here.

    • Kenny

      And the only students you hear from are the ones who didn’t get jobs somehow, but I know of a lot of former students who have great jobs after graduating from Everest.

      • LPN student

        Actually they are not paying us anything to post any of this. I’m also an LPN student at that school. It’s frustrating that everyone is believing this story and do not know the whole truth. Understand that LPN program is completely seperate from all the other programs this school may have, it’s an extensive program. You have to pass certain exams to get into the program. I do know this young lady I met her last year in my second semester, she graduated from that school, passed her NcLEX and working as an LPN and making good money not only that ,she has a chance to get her BSN now. You only reading one side of the story and trust me its a lie. Did you know that Fox news never came to our school to invistigate the story they never called the school or interviewed any of the students. They just ran with what this girl said. So if i made up a story about you and called the news and they ran a story on you without doing any investigation, how would you feel?!.

      • Annie Barnes

        I call the school to talk about going to college before I knew it, I was liking what they was telling me I had just retried and wanted to go back to work.I didn’t have a high school diploma when I got all those loans. I like every one else they wanted there money at the start. Now they are taking 189.00 out of my SS check every month 20,000 I didn’t past the test they give you to get in. But I had help to past it the next time around.

  • Amanda Dunn

    i had the same problem with this school i attended in 2014 and i dropped it cause of transportation problems but they were still saying i was attending and now i owe more then i should..obviously not as much as 30,000 but its still a lot for me

  • the boss

    This happen tome as well i ended up leaving due to that fact they wanted me to take out another loan i was like hell no and i left then the manger told me this was not your dream anyways……went to GRCC got my diploma i am fine now

  • Melissa

    I attended this school when it was Olympia and I am still fighting with the student loan people and I was just informed my loans were sold to another collector… I never was able to be employed in my field because it was not an accredited school

  • dejalyn

    Wow im not the only one. I went to Everest graduated and never got hired any where. So left me in the hole 15,000. It costed me 15,000 to get a degree that pays 9.00 an hr and no one will hire. Its bullshit and i havent made a payment since.

  • Candice

    I went to Everest and am now paying on student loans For a degree I can’t even use. It was very rushed and deceiving.

  • Nicole

    If anything ever happens with this.. I would be one to jump up and join in.. my daughter also received certification diploma and passed her national MA tests but will never get hired do to the school not being accredited and recognized. She is out all that money also. This school is a farce!

  • Jimmy

    Where do I start? First of all, according to the department of education’s website, Everest Institute IS an accredited school. Look it up if you don’t believe me. So all you bandwagon posters get your facts right before you make an idiot of yourself.
    If you get a a degree anywhere and can’t get a job then maybe the problem is you aren’t selling yourself as a potential employee well enough. The job isn’t going to be handed to you or fall in your lap. The school’s job is to prepare you for a job and maybe even give you some leads on who is hiring. After that it’s up to you to prove that you’re worth hiring.
    If you drop out because you can’t get yourself to school, it’s no ones fault but yours. Going to college or the equivalent of college means you should be (or at least pretend to be) a somewhat responsible adult. Mommy stops holding your hand somewhere around he time you become a teen and the school busses stop picking you up when you graduate from high school. Should you have to pay for everyone’s time that you wasted pretending you cared about an education? ABSOLUTELY!
    And as far as Ms. Heiney goes, maybe someone should ask her if she got her degree and is now working in the field she chose to study? If she is, then $30000 is a small price to pay for a quick degree and career.

  • Mr C

    i worked in for profit education and made good money however on day I had enough and let the industry and started my own business. I hope the government comes down on all those for profit school they preyed on the poor and the disadvantage to fill the pocket of there share holder. Wish I can tell you what really goes o. Behind the scenes but that would not be wise for me because of the contract they make all there advisors sign.

  • Maria

    This happened to me too. They even withheld my diploma from me for months. I heard they were hiring former students to be teacher assistants so I jump at the chance. The only reason I did was to somehow to get my diploma. I somehow got a chance to work with the person who had them and convinced the guy there was a mistake I didnt receive mine in the mail. The school told me I owed them 700.00 and would not receive it till this loan was paid but I didn’t even know about that loan. It was all for nothing because I could not even get a job because no one who hire anyone from that school. I was told at a interview that they liked me but Everest education was not a real education that their practice was outdated. Can anyone tell me how I join this fight?

    • Nicole

      See that is what ppl are not understanding. Not many places will hire Everest grads. My daughter has heard the same thing as you many times and yet everyone says “shes not selling herself” BULL

  • geri

    I went to that school and also did not complete the course due to sickness, but i was also lied to and rushed into. And i also is paying back alot of student loans. i do wish that i can get my money back.

  • Bobbie

    I went to this school when it was Olympia back in 2001, I have never had a job in the field, had my student loan transferred to another company and when I didn’t pay my loan they took mine and my husbands tax refund.

  • Andrew

    My wife did the MA program and yes it was expensive BUT thats what you get getting your degree in such a short time. yes i do thinkg its odd that they only delt with one lender at 22% interest. My wife went into it know that even though they said there was a very high placement rate that it had to be taken with a grain of salt. She applied for a few jobs and got a resource position at Spectrum. She presented herself good and sold herself. Those that want to have their loans sponged and dont have jobs it IS because they are not selling themselves which leads to not getting a job. A job is not gonna fall in your lap, try for yourself and get one. Pay your loans that you took out and dont expect a hand out like the rest of the lazy world wants and thinks they deserve.

  • Sheri

    I know of many Everest grads who worked extremely hard at their studies, received a great education and are gainfully employed in the field. It is all based on the effort and accountability that you take as an individual. If you dropped from the program, this is your responsibility. No one told you to drop. If you graduated, you have the responsibility to go out and represent yourself in a positive light. If you are negative no wonder you don’t have a job!!
    Regarding this newscast.. Really?? Sorry, not buying the ‘victim role’ presented here. It does not appear that this particular situation is entirely based on fact. I understand that this student graduated and is actually working in the field as a licensed practical nurse. So let me get this right… she got an education, passed her boards, is working in the field and is claiming foul play and shouldn’t have to be accountable for her debt. How many people go to a four year college to receive their bachelors and don’t get a job in the field that they studied. Do they complain that it was the schools fault for not getting them a job or for wronging them in some way? You and only you are responsible for your own destiny!!

  • Mrs DSP

    Blue Heron did the same exact thing to our daughter. She got her MA certification and then passed the NHCA (National Health Career Association).
    However, when Spectrum Health Human Resources called her for an interview upon hearing her credentials, they told her Spectrum Health and their affiliates do not accept the NHCA Certification.
    Blue Heron has demanded she pay monthly loan fees since before she started school in August, 2014.
    Blue Heron continues to represent themselves and their program as being fully accredited.
    This has absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with quitting a program, hiding behind your momma, not wanting to pay your student loans or being too lazy to get out and look for a job!
    These schools should be shut down.

  • Cathey

    Did this women fail to mention that when she decided to opt out she only had 4 weeks left of her program? Nope! Fox forgot to mention that. Also, the loans she had to payback were private loans that SHE took out knowing she would have to pay during school! If she wants the loans cleared; then she should have to hand over her degree and license as an LPN. I myself meant this “women” last June when all this happened! Everest did not force her to sign any paper work! She decided that, and apparently she is not the brightest tool in the shed since apparently she did not read what she was signing! She has to disclose information for the loans! Half of the tuition was through a private loan company that is requiring you to pay during school and I can tell you right now she knew this! Also, Why did she not walk away two months into it when she got her $100 interest payment? She could have fought it then. She and every other dummy in this “Corinthian 15” are only screwing them selfs because the IRS sure loves to dip into your tax return and your paycheck to get that student loan money back! Hey I went to Ferris State for 4 years can I get the $80000 back in student loans because they miss guided me in to applying and signing the enrollment agreement and the promissory notes for my loans? NO I can’t! People need to stop making excuses of who screwed them here and why they can’t find a job! Look at your self in the Mirror and ask why? You represent and sell your self for a job NOT the school you went to! Also FOX stated that Everest is closed! That’s funny because I sat in class there tonight and if they did their research and did contact Corinthians then they would know they were bought out by a new company in Feb and that is who has owner ship now! Very Very poor reporting!

  • susan

    Maybe everyone in Michigan who has been wrong by this school should protest in front of the schools to bring awareness to there scam. Maybe the students who got scammed will get help from the federal government. Bill schute won’t do anything I already wrote to there office and nothing done.

  • Debbie

    This is disappointing and very sad. Why does this individual feel that she deserves free education. She acknowledges that she is reaping the benefits of the education! She wants a handout from my tax dollars? Many people don’t have the opportunity to attend schooling and get a good job. To top it off, our society posts this as news? Sounds like more investigation needs to be done here. She should pay her loans and be thankful. If the government needs to help anyone, it should be someone that really needs it. Not someone that feels entitled.

  • Brian Boersma

    I have read and re-read several articles and interviews that have been given by this young woman Mallory Heiney. I find it to be highly disturbing that our valued and trusted news outlets such as MLive & Fox 17 News are publishing articles that contain very little truths or facts. In fact I am seeing different stories given by this woman that don’t quite add up. I am calling on MLive and Fox News to visit the Everest Campus and see the things that we have really experienced there. Find out the truths of what has really happened and what is currently taking place before you publish untruths told by a deadbeat spoiled brat like Mallory.

    I myself am a former MA graduate from Everest. I worked on the campus as a federal work study and now manage a very busy clinic. I developed wonderful relationships with my instructors and the staff while attending Everest. I have seen first-hand on how that campus functions and let me tell you they follow policy and procedure to a tee! Everyone that I came across was invested in the success of their students. Each class felt like family and that’s why I loved Everest. I still keep in touch with them today as we continuously hire LPN’s, MA’s and front office staff from Everest. I in fact am very sad to see this campus close. The competition does not produce the caliber of graduates that the GR Everest does. I’m not going to say there hasn’t been a bad apple every now and then, however you can’t always fix someone’s ability to comprehend on what professionalism really is no matter how many times you try and get it through to them.

    I have seen comment after comment from former graduates upset about the Career Services team not helping them find a job. You are all aware that you yourself have to get off the couch and find your own job don’t you? That team gives you the tools and provides you the job leads. They can’t interview for you. West Michigan is rather conservative and if you are choosing to work in the medical field with highly valued professionals that hold a Phd, you yourself need to be a professional. When I get a resume, the first thing I do is Google them. I can’t tell you how many resumes I throw in the trash because Jane Doe has her middle finger flashed across numerous photos laced with profanity and talk about partying and drugs posted all over their public Facebook accounts for all the world to see. The answer is NO, I will not give you the time of day for an interview and feel as if I could trust you to successfully care for our patients if you are on drugs, etc. It’s pretty plain and simple, pretty cut & dry. I know that those Career Reps advise you on professionalism from the time you walk through the door at Everest to the time you graduate and if you don’t take it seriously and listen to what they have to say, you are in no place to complain about the job you don’t have.

    My questions to Ms. Heiney,
    -Why didn’t you research the school before you enrolled?
    -Why didn’t you ask how much the program cost before you enrolled?
    -Why didn’t you attend a four year program if you were so unhappy with such a fast paced program such at the LPN program?
    -Why didn’t you read the enrollment paperwork that you were signing that clearly states every policy and procedure when you enrolled?
    -If you had questions about the program or the enrollment portion and finance, why didn’t you refer back to the copies of everything that you were given?
    -Why were you the only one that was unaware that you had to pay back the interest while attending? Everyone else did. Why weren’t you listening?
    -You said you didn’t learn anything in the program. How did you pass your NCLEX? Why would an employer hire you if you didn’t learn anything?
    -Why are you upset claiming empty promises when you successfully passed the NCLEX and are working as a Licensed Practical Nurse? Where is the emptiness? Your claims are very confusing.
    -Why do you feel superior to every other college graduate that has worked there butt off and has had to pay back their loans?
    -Did you ever research the definition of a loan? Did you know that you have to pay them back? I would love to not to have to pay my mortgage or my car payments, or school loans, however it’s not a reality.
    -My wife graduated from the University of Michigan during trying times. She too struggled to find employment during her first two years after graduation. She never claimed empty promises. She never asked them to find her a job. Like an intelligent individual, she found a job all by herself and paid back her loans.
    -How much is Debt Collective paying you to be their spokeswoman?
    -Why are you telling so many different stories?

  • Informed2015

    “I don’t know if anything you’ve told me is true because I’ve been lied to so much throughout this process” .. If you want to sell a lie you get the press to sell it for you. Not buying into anything she says.

  • Anthony

    I went to Wyotech where we had to pay the interest while attending school and in the middle my interest rate ballooned from 6.5 to 16.5.

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