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Bow Valley College - Ugly Practices Of The Registrar Office
Posted on Sunday, June 9th, 2013 at 5:07pm CDT by Mike H.
Product: HCA- program
Company: Bow Valley College
Bow Valley College: Ugly experiences
Having planned to undertake a 2-year nursing program in the fall of 2013, I thought I would do a 21-week Health Care Aid (HCA) program at Bow Valley College, a public college, in Calgary Alberta over the Spring-Summer 2013. The idea was that this short-term certificate program would offer me an opportunity to work in health care environment while perusing a 2-year fast-track full-time B.Sc in nursing program since I had already a BSc in Biology.
The program was to start on May 7, 2013. So, I began looking for application procedures online early in March. Since the college did not have a deadline for application to the program online, I contacted the registrar office via e-mail and enquired about the deadline for the application. I was told there was no deadline for the application. It was quite odd for me to see a public college not having a deadline for application to its programs. By then, I was in the US for a vacation.
For a convenience, I applied to the program online with a non-refundable application fee of $60 after I returned to Canada in April. The following morning I provided the registrar office in person with my High School Diploma and 4-year University transcripts.
The next step for me was to wait for the registrar office to assess my transcripts and let me know if I was accepted into the program or not. I waited, but there was no letter or a phone call or e-mail from the registrar office. The first day of the class, Tuesday May 7th was already in- meaning the class had begun!
Quite confused by what was going on, I called the registrar office after the class began and enquired about the status of my application. A lady who picked up my call appeared a bit wondered, and said that I could not start the program this Spring but may be for the Fall 2013 term as my transcripts and level of English language need to be assessed, which is now too late in her view. I told her that I applied to the program for the spring and asked her if my application was reviewed and a decision was made. At this point, the lady asked me for my application ID #. I gave to her. She looked at the status of my application and told me that someone would review my application and get back to me the following day, Wednesday May 8.
On Wednesday at about 10 a.m another lady called me and said to me that I was accepted and can start the class the following day, Thursday May 9, 2013. What this means was that my application was not reviewed prior to my inquiry at all, clearly indicating level of the registrar office's negligence. The lady also advised me to collect letter of acceptance and other requirement such as a form for police record that need to be submitted prior to starting the class. On the same day I went to the registrar office and collected them. Included was also a letter demanding $200, part of tuition, deposit as a confirmation of acceptance prior to starting the class. Since I had already missed classes for two days, I immediately made the $200 deposit on my visa and started class on May 9, 2013.
The next step for me with such a late notice of admission to the program was to arrange for funding my tuition for the program. There is a student grant for the HCA program from the government of Alberta through AlbertaWorks at approved colleges to offer the HCA program in the province. Where this grant opportunity is not available, students can apply for a government student loan.
Because my admission was very late as the result of registrar office's negligence, I wasn't able to apply for the student grant available through the college. Because, I was told that the application for grant for the Spring term was closed, and application for the Fall had already begun. So, I considered applying for the student loan through the college. The department that processes student loan at the college advised me that I could not apply for student loan through Alberta since I moved from another province and not a residence of the province for at least 12 months. And therefore, I had to apply through my former home province. Thus, since the program was only about 4 months, on Friday May the 10th, I decided to withdraw and focus on my Fall 2013 Full-time nursing program.
The following week, early I informed the college about my decision and requested for a refund of the $200, part tuition, that I deposited. The registrar office adamantly refused to refund me! I corresponded several e-mail communications, including in person once, with the person authorized to deal with tuition refund issues. Later, I took the case to the director of the registrar office, but both adamantly refused to refund me the $200 part of tuition I deposited in contrary to the tuition refund policy of the college in place. The college tuition and fee refund policy states that:
?For the Spring 2013, May 21st is the Last day to drop from term courses/programs and be eligible for a 100% tuition refund".
Based upon this policy, I argued that I was entitled to the refund since I withdrew earlier prior to May the 21st, and that the late admission notice was the result of negligence of the registrar office to process my application timely. The point they made was that the ?Confirmation of acceptance fee?, the $200, was a non-refundable fee. Contrary to their claim, there was no mention of this "confirmation of acceptance fee" in the general tuition and accessary fees chart for both domestic and international students that is available online at the college's website. But this $200 was part of the tuition as clearly mentioned in the letter that was received along with the admission letter demanding for the deposit prior to starting the class. It was not a separated fee designated for this purpose at all.
Therefore, either the 100% refund policy needs to be amended and be transparent or their refusal to refund the part of tuition deposit must be an illegal practice harboring frugality that lacks public trust, a work of honesty and integrity in public services. This was also further capitalized, speaking from personal experiences, by lack of a deadline for application to its programs, a disgraceful insensitivity and inability of the registrar office to review all its applicants in a timely fashion.
Further more, during my communication via e-mail regarding the refund issue with the registrar office personnel, including the director, I also experienced inattentiveness, lack of sensitivity, and a great deal of bureaucracy in evaluating the request for refund and in answering to specific questions I posed to them.
Here are some:
- Upon my first request for the refund of the $200 part of the tuition I deposited, the authorized person to deal with a refund issue took one week to respond, and he simply he stated, "The confirmation of Acceptance fee is a non-refundable fee".
Then, I detailed the case referring to the college's 100% refund policy and the fact that the $200 was part of the tuition, and e-mailed to his senior and copied to him. To this one, he immediately reacted saying,
"I think you misunderstood my prior email. 'The person you e-mailed' has no authority to refund the confirmation fee. I will look into this further to determine whether the circumstances warrant an exception to our policy. I will advise you by this Friday". This was Monday.
When that Friday, May 31st, arrived, he e-mailed to me saying,
"I have looked into this further. As you attended the program, but withdrew prior to the drop date, the confirmation fee is non-refundable."
What does he mean? Can a student lose a refund because s/he withdrew earlier or late? Is this inattentiveness or lack of knowledge of withdrawal and tuition refund policy and procedures? You read judge it!
Then, I went to the registrar office to meet him in person and ask him what he really meant. One of the front desk staff informed him that I was there to see him. Finally, he came out. He was so arrogant that he simply brushed off and went back to his office.
Then, I took the case to the director of the registrar office. He promised me he would look into the case and get back to me. Then, he chose to talk with me on the phone and requested me by e-mail to call him. We made it on June 6, 2013, and we had a lengthy conversation with no vitality in it. Because his decision was predetermined- not to varied from that of his colleague, while he had no straight answer to the simple questions posed to him. For example, he had no direct answer for the following questions:
1) Sir, does an applicant deserve an assessment of his/her application to a given program and receive an acceptance or denial prior to a class begins?
Because this never happened to my application until I called and enquired after the class began.
For this question, he simply tried to say, "Your application was late...", while forgetting the fact that there was no deadline set up for application to the program. Also, in contrary to this, in a summary he e-mailed to me after our phone conversation he stated, "I find that the time between the date you submitted your application and the day you were admitted to the program to be reasonable". Again, not realizing the fact that my application was reviewed only after I called and enquired about its status, which was after the class began.
2) The college's refund policy states that:
"For the Spring 2013, May 21st is the Last day to drop from term courses/programs and be eligible for a 100% tuition refund".
And at the same time, the letter that was included into the admission letter demanding a $200, part of tuition, confirmation of acceptance, states that the $200 deposit is non-refundable. How do you reconcile these two?
He had no straight answer to this question other than simply referring to it as if the $200 were a separately designated fee, which was not. It was clearly stated in the letter that demanded of it that the $200 deposit was part of the tuition and applies towards to the tuition.
i) I was entitled to a refund of the $200 part of tuition I deposited. The director's decision was simple: his decision was consistent with that of his colleague although both were unable to provide straightforward answers to the questions being posed to them. The reason was clear. He did not want to make a decision that overrode that of his colleague's shortsighted decision and cause a disappointment to him, so he too chose to refuses to abide by the 100% refund policy and do what was right. That's all! To do what is right is a matter of Conscience; not a matter of pleasing others! That's one of my personal values.
ii) Either the 100% refund policy needs to be amended and be transparent or their refusal to refund the part of tuition deposit must be an illegal practice harboring frugality that lacks public trust, a work of honesty and integrity in public services. This was also further capitalized, speaking from personal experiences, by lack of a deadline for application to its programs, a disgraceful insensitivity and inability of the registrar office to review all its applications in a timely fashion.
iii) It seems to me that an underlying source of the problem is lack of a deadline set for application to the program. Either the college practices this intentionally obscuring transparence to gain some money from students inappropriately or may have some other reason, which as of yet not clear to me. For certain, to my best knowledge such a practice is unfamiliar in Canadian public education system.
Overall, I strongly feel that the registrar office's refusal to recognize its flaw policy and chose to adhere to its contradictory practice against the 100% tuition refund policy was inappropriate under all circumstances. And this is an illegal practice which is lacking trust in public services, requiring attention before our legal system, and need to be out to the public media.