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Blind-Sided at Sallie Mae?

March 25, 2008 - 8:00am

Last week, we wrote that Sallie Mae and its promoters on Wall Street claim the company was "blind-sided" by the rising default and delinquency rates on subprime private loans it made to low-income and working class students at poor performing higher education trade schools. It's a convenient argument considering that the loan giant is facing at least one, and possibly several, class action lawsuits by angry shareholders who accuse the company of deliberately misleading them about the amount of risk it was assuming. But the argument is disingenuous at best.

Financial analysts have long raised red flags about Sallie Mae's private lending practices. During earnings calls and at shareholder meetings and investment conferences, analysts regularly peppered Sallie Mae officials with questions about whether the company, which is used to having government backing on its loans, had the expertise needed to assess the risks associated with lending unsecured, private loan debt to financially-needy students.

Of particular concern to these analysts have been the sweetheart deals that Sallie Mae forged with some of the most scandal-ridden chains of for-profit colleges, such as Career Education Corporation and Corinthian Colleges. Under these Orwellian-sounding "opportunity pool" or "recourse loan" arrangements, Sallie Mae agreed to provide funds for private student loans, with interest rates and fees totaling more than 20 percent per year, to financially-needy students who normally wouldn't qualify for them because of their subprime credit scores. Sallie Mae apparently viewed these loans as "loss leaders," meaning that the company was willing to make these loans, many of which were likely to go into default, in exchange for becoming the exclusive provider of federal and private loans for the tens of thousands of subprime and non-subprime students these huge chains serve.

In 2005, Fortune Magazine brought attention to the analysts' worries in an article entitled, "When Sallie Met Wall Street." That piece specifically raised concerns about the loan company's dealings with schools owned by Career Education Corporation, which it noted had had been accused "in multiple lawsuits in several states of using hard-sell tactics to recruit students, promising them high-paying jobs that don't materialize and leaving them with mountains of debt that they can't pay off."

The article's author -- Bethany McLean (who, by the way, helped break the Enron scandal) -- proved prescient in predicting the predicament in which Sallie Mae now finds itself. McLean wrote:

[A] big question looms in Sallie Mae's private credit business: How many students who take out these high-interest loans will end up defaulting? After all, private credits are basically unsecured loans to people without jobs. Sallie argues that there won't be a problem. Each quarter it books a reserve for potential losses; at this time its loss on private credit loans in repayment are running at only 2.4%. Plus, Sallie says, almost half its private credit loans are guaranteed by a parent.

But because private credit is a new business and because students are taking on unprecedented levels of debt, there are no historical measurements by which to gauge potential defaults. As Sallie's financials note, "the provision for loan losses is inherently subjective as it requires material estimates that may be susceptible to significant changes." And the current low delinquency rate may be misleading, because as of the end of 2004 nearly half the students to whom Sallie has lent private money hadn't left school yet.

The Fortune article also raised a question that is central to the class action lawsuit filed by shareholders in the Federal District Court in Southern New York: Was Sallie Mae deliberately not putting enough money in reserve to cover anticipated losses on "uncollectible loans" so that it could artificially boost its earnings?

Some worry that Sallie may already be struggling to deliver on its promises to Wall Street. The company encourages investors to look at a measure it calls "core cash" earnings, which, among other adjustments, strips out the gain Sallie books when it sells loans to an off-balance-sheet trust and replaces it with Sallie's estimate of the spread those loans are earning. In other words, Sallie's "core cash" results are affected by the reserve it books on those off-balance-sheet loans. Over the past year the company has reduced its reserves, thereby boosting the earnings measure that it encourages investors to watch. Currently, Sallie's allowance for losses on the private credit loans that are in repayment is 3.9%, down from 6.2% a year ago. Sallie attributes the reduction to an improvement in its portfolio's credit quality and says that the idea that reducing reserves helps earnings is wrong.

How did Sallie Mae officials react to the story? Did they reexamine their business practices? No, they lashed out at the magazine. "In short, your article was a baseless attack on a company that has helped million of Americans who, without our financing tools, may not have had an alternative to attend college and improve their lives," Tim Fitzpatrick, the company's then-CEO, wrote in a letter to the editor.

Sallie Mae officials were warned of the dangers ahead and chose to ignore the warnings. The truth is company officials took a huge gamble. They believed that that all the new business they would get from forging deals with these gigantic for-profit school chains would more than make up for the losses they would endure from making available high-cost private student loans for high-risk borrowers. They were wrong.

The people actually blind-sided were students pressured by aggressive recruiters at dubious for-profit trade schools to take out high-cost loans to pursue an expensive, high-risk program with dubious graduation and job placement track records.

As we have noted, serious questions have been raised about whether some of these companies such as Career Education Corporation have duped disadvantaged students into taking on private loan debt without making them aware of their cheaper loan options first.

Perhaps Sallie Mae's shareholders were duped as well. They may at least get their day in court to air their grievances. Company officials will argue that they never could have anticipated the dangers of providing high-cost loans to subprime borrowers. Don't believe them.

Sallie Mae

I think Sallie Mae was trying to position itself for sale. They could boost the price by increasing perceived profits. They must have known that the risk in the portfolio was increasing and that they needed more, not less reserve. One assumes that the liability would have become clear with the new owners.

I am a blind-sided borrower.

I am a blind-sided borrower. I attended Scottsdale Culinary Institute in 2001 and thought everything was going to be great. I'd go to school and be able to be a real chef when I graduated and found a job paying at least $40,000 a year because of my "Le Cordon Bleu" diploma... at least that's what the recruiters told me. I signed all the paperwork to get my loans, good thing my mom refused to sign as they tried to force her to cosign even though I was 22 when I went. My loans looked good until about half way through the program when the chefs started laughing at us for thinking we'd graduate and make more than $10.00 an hour, let alone become an executive chef or even a sous chef right out of school. Then Sallie Mae decided to buy out my loans but it was already too late to do anything about it. They took the bulk of my loan of $18,000 and stuck it in their private loan which was at an alarming rate of 18% interest. I was told I couldn't do anything about it while I was in school and would have to wait until after I graduated. After I graduated, I was told too bad, Sallie Mae has your loan and you can't refinance or consolidate for any reason ever because Sallie Mae would refuse to release the loan no matter what I did. So here I am 5 years later and my balance is now $60,000 and their collectors are telling me they will take me to court and garnish my wages because I can't force any of my friends to cosign a loan for me. I'd get a loan on my own to settle with Sallie Mae if I didn't have a bogus $60,000 defaulted debt on there... from Sallie Mae. They said they wanted to settle but in the end refused it and then told me I wasn't even trying to work with them if i can't force someone I know to hand me the cash or at least sign a loan for me. You've got to be kidding me. Sallie Mae I really hope you get what you all deserve and I will be on the front line of whatever that may be.

i understand where you're

I understand where you're coming from. I too was blindsided by Sallie Mae. On top of the dishonesty of California School of Culinary Arts' recruiters (such as lying about future wages, lying about exclusiveness of the school, lying about the terms of the loan, lying about financial aid I was supposed to get), the school "accidentally" didn't even follow through with my Cal Grant, making me borrow over $8,000 more than I needed to. I hope they all go out of business and stop doing this to students.

Sallie Mae

Have you stood up to sallie mae and, if so, has anything happened? I have a private school loan with them that I am being taken advanage of right now. I need an economic deferement and they have put the screws to me. It is a long story and I won't go into it but the inital loan was $4,838 and during the course of a 6 month deferement I owe almost $6,000. I have submited my complaint to the BBB and am working with them now. I am tired of people like Sallie Mae and others taking advantage of the middle class. I am going to fight until something decent is done.

My exact story

I too attended Scottsdale Culinary Institute. We may have been in the same class. My mother also refused to sign the loan papers, thankfully, because I was 23 at the time. The SCI recruiters do a number on you telling you what a great job you will get right out of school and how they even help you find that chef job of your dreams. Then once it's too late to drop out and receive any type of refund, you find out that it's all a lie and it is true, the chefs literally laughed at us thinking we'd be more than a line cook for $8-10 an hour after graduation. I left a corporate job paying $12 an hour to go to this school. What's the point of quitting a perfectly good job and going to a school that cost $30,000 only to get a job paying nearly a quarter LESS than I was earning????

I went through the same things and couldn't refinance because Sallie Mae wouldn't release the loan. Who can blame them at 18% interest?? My balance last I talked with one of the many collectors is upwards of $65,000. I finally got them to settle and I offered $28,000 which I deemed as fair as I would get and everything was peachy until I asked for everything in writing. When it came down to it they came back and refused the offer and said they wanted the full $65,000. I asked if it was general practice to screw themselves and demand an amount they knew they'd never get rather than accept $28,000. There was no answer for this.

So they still threaten to take me to court and garnish my wages. I told them to come find me first. It is funny after all the negotiations with them and coming to a settlement agreement that they turn right back around and tell me I refused all help from them and was making no effort to make payment on my account and went right back to calling me 15 times a day. And everytime I'd tell them who I spoke to, they'd tell me that person no longer works there, very convenient if you ask me. So I've changed my number. They had their chance to get money from me and they passed on it. For some reason the last girl I talked to told me I wasn't a very good person if I couldn't dupe one of my friends into taking out a $65,000 loan for me and what kind of parents did I have who wouldn't help me and pay it off for me?? I told her how Sallie Mae settled and it was my mom who was taking out a loan for me so I could get this off my back and they came back and refused so now she refuses to deal with them.

So I guess it's their loss and I will be happy to join in any litigation or demonstration against not only Sallie Mae but against the "Le Cordon Bleu" institutes that got kickbacks from Sallie Mae and knowingly screwed us all.

Settling with Sallie Mae

65k is pretty hefty. I'm at about 58k in private loans (bogus) and 30k federal (legit) with Sallie Mae. I'm about to enlist in the military (as an officer), and Dept of Defense requires ALL debt to be either paid, settled, or in repayment otherwise you are denied. What's interesting is that 58k loan has gone up considerably in the past few years since I graduated from a state university in 2003. It started out as 35k and had ballooned up to 58k as of today when I looked on the manageyourloans.com site. A few months ago the company sent the private loan to collections (Windham Professionals - maybe you've heard of them?) and the collections company was offering 29k as a lump sum payment settlement. They even emailed me a letter in writing displaying the 29k settlement amount! I managed to get them down to as low as 24k as I was about to get a loan from a relative, but then I never heard back from them. I tried calling the person that offered the amount, but she was gone. When I tried to talking to someone else, they stated that offer was no longer on the table and that I would have to pay the full amount! So, I stopped answering their calls, and they stopped calling. Now, 3 months later, I am getting calls from Windham again for Sallie's loan. However, this time I am considering recording my phone calls with them as I now want to settle with them and want to make sure I cover my a*s in case they try anything or make false promises, etc.

SCI

I also attended SCI and my loans are now due. They want me to pay $1150 dollars a month. With all the lies they told me I thought I would be doing better. I was thinking about trying to get a class action lawsuit together to see if it would help. If anyone is interested please e-mail me at a.chandler3@my.chefs.edu

SCI, salle mae

I also attended Scottsdale Culinary for a brief time in 2003 or 4?. I only went through about 5-6 classes before I decided it was a total crock of SH**!! Stupid people, stupid chefs (except for 1-2).
I graduated with a BS in communications, why the hell am I going to be a chef and pay more money. Damn food network!!
They completely screw you with the loans, wham bam thank you mam type of deal as explain.

SCI is a total crap shoot. They are all liars, they could care less about the students, they steal your money and laugh at you.
Not me per say as I actually had some talent but decided that career was not for me.

I filed for bankruptcy soon after I left SCI in the middle of one of my stupid classes. Absolutely terrible class. I am now almost done with my bankruptcy and now saw a show on PBS about Salle Mae. I freaked out. I looked through all my papers and my heart sank. Did I totally get duped?? I did!!!! Damn!!
I am going to fight it to the death. I only owe about 8 or 10K but I will only pay half or less. I will make sure of that. No way in hell they are going to take me for ride. Especially after I just cleared my name with finishing up a bankruptcy.

Screw SCI they are a scam and are a worthless institution.
Salle mae are just plain scam artists and thieves.

I am trying to see if there is something I can do while still in bankruptcy, like move the loan over to someone else or something.

any ideas?

I work at a proprietary

I work at a proprietary school and have witnessed thousands of successful students who came to us without much and graduated with the skills needed to enjoy a career. The balance is in the tuition charged and the type of program. I agree that a game design program for $50K is not the best idea - unless you have amazing skills. But you always need to think where would you work? But a nursing program or an accounting degree is a better choice. There are many jobs. Good, well-run proprietary schools are a helpful choice to many people who need more hands-on based learning, smaller class sizes and more personal attention. The loans from Sallie Mae or similiar institutions have helped many students graduate, get a job and become tax payers for the first time.

Corinthian

I must say from what I read all your responses sound the same as what I have gone through. I think Sallie Mae must of hired all the Enron Executives.

I went to a school run by Corinthian Colleges and after grad found out that the first question I asked them was a lie. The first question I asked them was could I do the job when I need to take a specific medicine. Turns out because of the regulations to do the job. I am prohibited from doing the job. I tried to get help from Sallie Mae, US DEPT of Education, Attorney General, ect ect ect and have had no luck even when I am correct about the regulations.

Turns out the schools just wanted to screw everyone. Sallie Mae and Corinthian worked together on the scam. I can't work can't make any money and can't pay anything in almost 4 years now. I also hope Sallie Mae get what they deserve -- big debt and no way to pay it back. Sick and Tired of getting Screwed.

Blind sided as well

I attended ECPI Technical College a few years back and have the same exact thing happen to me. Out of high school I signed of for the military but had a health setback months before I was to report for basic training. Since my MOS in the military was going to be computer related I figured I would go to school at ECPI to get a jump start on my career. Sure enough the school was bogus making promise after promise about job placement and starting salaries. I soon found myself trying to pay back student loans that were essentially equal to a car payment on a $8.00 per hour job that I was working while in school. Of course you know what happened next, I couldnt afford the payments from Sallie Mae and they wouldn't work with me on anything. I tried to send what I could when I was told not to even bother because it was a legal matter. So being young and frustrated I just figured I would work something out with a collection agency. Now I am paying big time with my credit score because I just recently found out that they took whatever money that was past due a few years ago and added to the end of the loan restarting my payments. I never got any notification what so ever so now the loan is years past due. Sallie Mae and schools like ECPI are the scums of the earth preying upon people who try to better themselves but are in tough situations. Hopefully something will be done about this soon.

Criminal Sallie Mae

Sally Mae defaulted my student loans illegally which I have not been able to resolve despite "screaming" the past 2 years to numerous politicians.

I want to join a class action law suit. Please help!!!!!

sallie mae

anything yet on a class action lawsuit?

Scottsdale Culinary Institute - I too was lied too.

I too was lied to by Scottsdale Culinary Institute recruiters. At the time, I was a young 19 years old. I had no parents to enlighten me on the dishonest practices of many trade schools. I believed the recruiters - I believed I would graduate SCI making at least $45,000.00 and would easily find work as an executive chef. It wasn't long after attending that the reality of my situation sunk in. I graduated and worked four years at a high class 4 star luxury hotel making $9.00 an hour. I was even employee of the year and was promoted...no one can say I as paid so low from poor skill.How am I supposed to pay off $36,000.00 making $9.00 an hour?

I am also stuck with high private loans with a horrible interest rate. Sallie May won't let me refinance it to a lower rate. There is nothing I can do about it. Needless to say - I don't use my degree anymore. In fact I resent it. My finances have been screwed the last 6 years for a degree I can't afford to enjoy. I would love to see SCI sued for being dishonest and misleading the public.

Shame on you Scottsdale Culinary for not being upfront and honest to young recruits. Shame on you Sallie May for not working with borrowers and for unethical practices.

Sallie Mae Private loans

I just Know that all of us that are in this situation, we, went to school, because,we were looking for a better job, better future.. Thinking, and been sure that we all have the intention and the interest to pay back our loans.. I attended culinary school in Pasadena, and nothing of what they said, when I enroll it was true.. today I have a big payment on a loan that It was for 45,000 now it turn into 63,000, with a monthly payment of 1,034, and I'm making 12.75 a/h .. and with the economic issue that we all confront, I'm not even working 40hrs.. and I can find a new job or a part time.. Sallie Mae don't care. they have no problem braking my interest in 5 months of 230 but they keep adding interest and penalty fees.. and if I default, they will garnish my check or go after any properties. I feel that I have no way out.. It seems that nobody want's to help. But the account keep growing and growing, and I can find a solution for this.. God bless all, and if you have any questions or maybe have find any solution, please share... Thank you..

Sincerely,

Jorge De Leon

My identity was stolen

My identity was stolen by a former high school classmate- so I, a college student myself am the co-signer of this idiots Sallie Mae school loan- he borrowed the money for himself, but I am listed as the cosigner for his 50 year old mother. Sallie Mae won't take her updated address, phone number, or any other info they need to bill her- they just keep sending threatening notices, and call three or four times a day. I have filed some sort fraud complaint with Sallie Mae. They sent me the original application-- it is all lies regarding income and work history, and credit ratings. I have no work history, and no income. I will work my ass off for the rest of my life letting people know the evils of Sallie Mae. Do not borrow from them -- they are thieves!

i just found this.

http://www.jameshoyer.com/problem_Sallie_Mae.html

finally! everyone please submit your plights to this attorney.
let's end the tyranny of albert lord!

They got me too. I'm leaving the US because of it.

I was a CEC student. When you walked into the financial aid office, they would hand you an application for a "CEC SIGNATURE Sallie Mae Loan" (please not that "signature" means they were a preferred lender, which is illegal in many states). Oh, you can stay in school for the rest of your life and get an in-school deferment/forbearance, but I'm sure they'll find a way around that law at some point. I am expecting a check from the CEC class action, but I know how that goes- I'm not expecting much.

They lent me over $100k and lied to me the whole time about my right to consolidate, defer, etc, and now my debt has ballooned to nearly $300k. Since my school lied about their placement stats, I have very few job prospects. I am planning on leaving the US in the next 6 months because that's the only way that you can get away from them.

You can't file bankruptcy, since the scumbags lobbied to have all your consumer protections removed. There is no way out, unless you leave the country. And that is exactly what I am planning to do.

IF YOU HAVE A SALLIE MAE LOAN, LEAVE THE COUNTRY!!!

Had to move overseas

I had a friend that had to move overseas because of this exact same reason. He had over 250K worth of debt because of Sallie, when his original loan was around 85k. Granted, he had pursued a Bachelors and Masters degree, but ballooning to 3 times the amount?! In any case, my friend moved out to New Zealand via a special Working Holiday Visa program 4 years ago. He found a job on his work-holiday, got a standard work permit, then a legal permit, and is now on his way to becoming a citizen there. Also, he has re-established credit there.

http://www.immigration.govt.nz/migrant/stream/work/workingholiday/united...

i have close to 35,000 in

i have close to 35,000 in sallie mae student loans, the school i was going to which sucks lie to me telling me that my credits can be transfer to any school which is not true,no school will accept my credits,and on top of that i havent even finished school yet i asked the school for a leave of absent due to pregnancy only to find out later that they withdraw me,corinthian and everest suck,anyway i just gave birth,not employed and cant go back to school yet,and just find out that after month of faxing papers and applying online for deferments with sallie mae they were not approved and my account is pass due,they want me to p close to 500 a month,HELLO i dont have a job just had a baby how in hell am i suppose to pay that,and they wont work with u,they are rude,customer service is the worse and they just do what they want,NICE PLACE TO LIVE,anyway i`m scare cause my husband is my co signer and if they go after him we are screw he is the only want supporting our family and if they garnish his wages wht are we going to do with two kids,i wish i had never gone to college,whats the point u only end up with a big debt and working in a field other than what you studied because you cant find a job

Art Institute and Sallie Mae Scam

I have read all the comments above and it is exactly what my son and I are going through..We were lied to by the Art Institute and were NEVER told that these loans could not be consolidated like other federal loans, and of course could not be included in a bankruptcy because of being a "student" loan. My son cannot even meet his monthly bare necessities bills; let alone trying to repay this. We have fought and argued over the years trying to get help with this "scam" loan; but with no luck.

If others have been duped by the Art Institute as well as Sallie Mae, I would love to hear from you and I, too, would love to get a class action suit.

We were told by the latest collections agency that they will garnish my son, and take my social security disability.....Does this sound like the American dream???? And, sadly, my son has yet to get the job he has always dreamed of getting.

Scottsdale Culinary Institute

Wow
I hope others read this BEFORE they get duped by the late night info mercials like me. I sold real estate for 13 years and when it started to tank, decided to pursue "my passion". I was told by the recruiters at SCI that when I finished my program I would be a chef and afforded all the respect and job opportunities because of my Le Cordon Bleu certificate. Only 22k to sign up...and how about 5k more for a housing stipend. 8 months later I have a worthless piece of paper and a paper hat.
I endured massive humiliation at my age...over 50. I would earn an A in a class only to have the next class have a chef who sings AC/DC, swears like a sailor and takes 7 percent off of your grade if you miss a class without a doctors written excuse. I got out of the program with a 3.65. So mostly I went to class!
In the last weeks of my program I had a chef tell me that I probably didn't want to be a chef since I could not tourne a potato to save my life and therefore should consider being a restaurant critic or writer. wow, why wasn't he at the front door with a potato and a knife and he could have saved me alot of money and humiliation.
i am back in my home town, broke, about to file bankruptcy. before i did this i had an ira. now i have used it to support me and i owe the irs.
and sallie mae and everyone else.
so when we get this where it is heard around the world, maybe something will change. that is what lawsuits are for anyway.
bon appetit.

About My $40,000 a year job...

My story is exactly like all of yours, recuiters lied about how much I would earn with their exclusive job placement program, and other various benefiets if I finished their program at the (f)Art Institute. Same thing I was laughed at, my credit shredded to ribbons and in the end, I had to get my own job, (luckily better than anything they could offer, but still only about $10 an hour.)Sallie Mae's people harrassed me endlessly even though I became disabled through a very rare health syndrome. So one day when they called, I demanded the difference of my actual earnings to the promised $40,000 a year back to the day I graduated. They got real pissed off and hung up on me. But at least I didn't sign that high interest agreement. The moral is... DO NOT CO-OPERATE With them!!!!! If they send you to collection they are not entitled to anymore interest, they can add on legal fee's but they are minimal. Once you have the collection agency on the phone, offer them a low cash settlement or a reasonable payment arraignment that you can afford!!!!! Otherwise, they will keep up this cat and mouse game forever costing you more than ten times what you borrowed. This is dirty I know and I apologize but its a way fight back and the fact of the matter is...THEIR HASNDS ARE DIRTY TOO!! (more than anyone's) To this day I am yet to make that promised $40,000 in a single year.

Sallie Mae and Windham Professionals Are Criminals

I had a few private student loans with Sallie Mae of about 56k (for grad school). Wife has lost her job and I took a lower paying job to be closer to home due to illness. I tried getting a forbearance, but each time Sallie Mae wanted a fee and now that we are struggling and are about to file bankruptcy (saving up to file), we cannat even afford he forbearance fees so they turned my accounts over to this scummy collection agency Windham Professionals. I got a call at work this morning at 6:55AM (yes...that early) and the collector told me she was calling my employer this afternoon to get my wages garnished. I told her as far I know she needs a judgement for that since these are not federal loans. She told me she could do whatever she wants and will try to get me fired by calling repeatedly every 10 minutes (yes, she actually said this!). She also asked me if I had life insurance and when I asked her why, she said I should think about killing myself so that my wife can pay off my debt. Nice, huh?

Sallie Mae

Sallie Mae is a monster. Call and write to your Congressmen/women and your Senators. This monster must be stopped!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Demand that reforms be made to hold Sallie Mae to at least some standards. As is stands now there is literally NO regulation protecting this monster's victims.

Scottsdale Culinary Institute and Sallie Mae

I used to work for SCI and everything that everyone has said is true. It was horrible and I know some people that still work there and they hate it. The recruiters consistently lie about your job prospects and earning potential. Realistically, you'll make the same amount of money without culinary school if you work entry level or have a couple year's experience ($8 - &14/hr). The chef instructors (some which are excellent) are arrogant and only teach because they can(get paid the money students hope to make after their program and) sit on their assess for most of the day. The academic instructors have no training, they are given no curriculum and no lesson plans, they are literally given a book and assigned a class the Friday before a class starts. The managers don't care whether or not you know anything about the subject; you're expected to "learn" over the weekend. The academic classes are beyond useless because of this and it's just another way to get more money from students.

CEC the company that owns SCI (as well as every other US-based Le Cordon Bleu school) pays Le Cordon Bleu in France over $14 million every five years to use their name. The program is technically not audited by Le Cordon Bleu; CEC is literally paying for marketing and the right to stick the Le Cordon Bleu name on your (worthless) diploma. In return Le Cordon Bleu (Paris) sends a chef out every year to "audit" the program. As long as the check's written, the Chef from France will give the program his/her stamp of approval.

If you've graduated from here, you can try to get a working holiday in Australia, New Zealand or Canda. As long as you are making your money outside of the country, they can't touch your wages. In order to qualify for that type of visa, you must be between 18 - 30 years old.

You can try to fight Sallie Mae and proprietary schools but it probably won't work for two reasons, those schools and Sallie Mae provide substantial money to the "campaigns" of many politicians, therefore the politicians vote in their favor and these schools and Sallie Mae have so many lawyers on staff that they'll keep postponing court dates (which means that you need to pay more money to your lawyer) until your defense funds run dry.

Good luck to everyone; I am truly sick at the stories I've read and heard.