Ashford University Lawsuit, History and My Disturbing Experience as a 2018 Graduate

Updated on February 11, 2019
Charlotte Doyle profile image

Charlotte likes pretty things, and she loves the beach, sushi, coffee and seashells.

An image of the campus at Ashford University
An image of the campus at Ashford University | Source

Why I Began My Journey at Ashford University

I started Ashford University in January 2013. I received a Bachelor's in Health Care Administration in February 2017. I am almost finished with my Master's at this time. It should be completed by November 2018. My Master's is in Psychology, and I started it in June 2017. For my bachelor's my minor was in Human Resources Management, and my Specialization was in Project Management. The reason why I went with Ashford University is that I was a divorced, jaded, 26-year-old single mother leaving a failed relationship. Due to a terrible, constricting marriage that failed in 2011, I had a limited job experience history and only a year of education as a pharmacy technician. Even that technical school for pharmacy technicians was a sham, as those credits couldn't transfer to any other institution, and it was quite expensive, but that's another story. This story is about Ashford University, and the ups and downs I experienced, and if I felt if the experience was worth it.

My Initial Fears About Ashford University

In the beginning, the scary part about Ashford University was the 'unknown.' What is an online university like? Is this some scam? Is this university even accredited, and if so, by whom? Do "respected" schools accept credits from Ashford? What if I can't finish...will I be stuck with this massive bill? Will it be too hard for me? I had a million questions. I talked to a 'counselor' on the phone. He was accommodating. They have you fill out a questionnaire online after you make an account, and the questionnaire pretty much enrolls you in the program. (So be careful what you electronically sign and say 'yes' to if you speak to a counselor over the phone). I was ready and desperate to enter college because I wanted my life to change. I wanted to have options. I wanted to be my own woman. I wanted to own my education. I wanted to expand minds. I wanted to be a good example to my children somehow. The process to join college is fast...a little 'too' fast....(enter suspicious music here).

How Classes at Ashford University Work

The classes are taken back to back, and there's not much of a break except for Christmas break. For a few weeks in December, you don't have to turn any work in, and it's amazing. A class may Start on August 21 and then end on October 1st. A class may begin on October 2nd and then end on November 12. Some classes will have the reading material electronically provided. Other classes will require you to order the books. All discussions have to be turned on Thursdays. Sometimes quizzes are required to turn in on Sunday. And assignments are due on Monday. You can procrastinate, but that will cause a huge amount of stress. It's better to spread out the homework and to read throughout the week to avoid the 'panic mode' that happens when you have a final to turn in on a Monday night. For discussions, you will ususually be assigned one or two discussions. They are questions that a teacher asks you based on your personal opinion, research, and a video or reading that they recommended for you to read or watch. Usually, they need to be 250 words or more, dependong on the teacher. Assignments are usually either two to ten pages long and have to be double-spaced, and in APA format with supportive research (not, and never, Wikipedia). For your information, Ashford is accredited by the WASC Senior College and University Commission.

Example of my Final Two Classes at Ashford University
Example of my Final Two Classes at Ashford University | Source

The Shady History of Ashford University

Ashford Started off as a school for girls in 1893 in Clinton, Iowa. The original building was built in 1910 and was used for college purposes until 2016. The college was accredited with the name Mount St. Clare College. In 2003, the name was changed to The Franciscan University. In 2004, the name changed to The Franciscan University o the Prairies. Because of money issues, the school as bought by Bridgepoint Education in March 2005 and then renamed Ashford University. In June 2010 and 2012, the regional accreditation with the Western Association o Schools and Colleges (WASC) was denied due to high dropout rates, lack of academic rigor, and a general understaffing of full-time faculty members. It was finally approved for accreditation through WASC in 2013. On May 2016, the Clinton, Iowa campus was closed, completely, because it could not meet enrollment requirements. At this time, as of November 2018, the college is looking at large challenges ahead, even the loss of GI Bill funding. Bridgepoint Education, who bought out the college as mentioned, is thinking of merging with the school called University of the Rockies and transforming Ashford into a nonprofit university. From 2011, Ashford University's enrollment has plummeted by fifty percent. Ashford University graduation and retention rates are low. The US Department of Education scorecard shows that this college has a sixteen percent graduation rate, and only about twenty-three percent pay back the student loans. There is a long list of lawsuits and controversies surrounding the school, ranging from robocalling to unlawful marketing, to VA benefit reliability, political moves to regain GI Bill funding, and even to even a recent 2017 lawsuit unlawful debt collection practices.

My Personal Issues at Ashford University

My counselors changed quite a bit through the course of my school years. One counselor messed up my bachelor's requirements, and I had to pay about $1500 for an extra class that was added last minute when I decided upon my Specialization and Minor. My transcript was actually 'held hostage' until I paid the full amount. I had some teachers that were extremely condescending and rude. It's hard to believe, but some teachers can be bullies in an online environment. All teachers have different standards of course, and all teachers expect you to follow APA format, but some are more strict than others. A respected Master's degree in Psychology is accredited by the APA or American Psychological Association. Ashford's psychology Master's degree is not, so that may potentially be a problem in my near future, especially if I ever to get a psychology license. There is a chance I may not be able to in Texas since the college is not APA accredited. Since Ashford's master's degree in psychology program is not accredited, that means that the programs' curriculum is inconsistent with the standards that the APA requires. Please note, that at this time, there are no APA accredited programs that are available ONLY online.

Ashford University is Expensive!

Ashford is extremely expensive. Sometimes I wonder how I will end up paying for my whole education, as the cost is pretty much the price of a house in Oklahoma (My current loans are at $98,500 $75,500 are from Direct Stafford Unsubsidized loans, and $23,000 are from Direct Stafford subsidized loans). That number makes my heart drop, to be honest with you. For my Master's degree, my classes ranged from $1767.00 to $1860.00 per class, so you don't want to fail and retake these classes. I have luckily never failed, even through some horrendous breakups and bouts of grey areas in my life. These prices don't include the technology fee. A technology fee could be $125.00 per class. A class's course digital material could cost $70.00 if it's provided. It could be more if you have to buy the book yourself. For a science class, I had to purchase the science kit myself. If you are lucky (should I use that word?) and qualify, you can get Direct Unsubsidized loans, and you can even qualify to receive stipends or federal Pell grants. Stipends are an amount of money that you get, directly to you through direct deposit or check, that you can have. The money is what's left over after the full loan amount for that school period is applied to your classes for a certain window of time. You get the stipend maybe twice a year. The more expensive your classes are, the more of the loan has to be applied to those classes, and the less stipend you get. What would be smart (and what I should have done) is use the stipend to directly pay back on the school loan. But because I didn't do that, I am stuck with an extremely high school loan that I need to start paying off six months after I graduate. If you're interested in reading a SHRED of hope when it comes astronomical student loans, please direct yourself here:

Sample of Master's Degree Classes Costs at Ashford University
Sample of Master's Degree Classes Costs at Ashford University | Source

Final Thoughts on Ashford University

Ultimately, even with two kids, and even with three years of working 40-60 hours per week, I was able to get my degree. Even through vacations, breakups and a few moves, as long as I had Wifi, I was able to log in, turn in my assignments, and get a grade, even if it wasn't my best effort, but anything was better than a zero. Attendance is important, and attendance can affect the loans, stipends, and grades so make sure to turn in your discussions on Thursdays, quizzes on Sundays, and those larger assignments on Mondays. I completely regret how much I have to owe back. The average cost of a Master's degree is about $40,000, and the average cost of a bachelor's degree program is about $8,800 for in-state students and $25,620 for out of state students. Since I am in Texas, I suppose I'm considered out of state. Ashford started off in Clinton, Iowa, but that campus mysteriously closed down recently. And now, my education is based out of campus in California. I am probably not going to the graduation. I will receive my degree in the mail and probably cry over my student loans. In the end, I feel I can't recommend Ashford University due to the high cost of attendance, sudden changes (like losing the Iowa campus), lack of proper accreditation, high levels of controversies/lawsuits, and high rate of dropouts. At this time, I can not recommend Ashford University to you. While I did learn quite a bit through the classes, and many were challenging, and I became proficient at writing papers and APA formatting, the cost is too high, and the inconsistency of the college was too much as well.

© 2018 Charlotte Doyle


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    • profile image


      6 weeks ago

      The job I had required me to be a full or part-time student. This college cause me to lose my job because they lost their VA accreditation at the Clinton Iowa campus. I was supposedly mistakenly dis-enrolled accidently as my records were being forwarded to the San Diego California campus. I was dis-enrolled for 3 months and then hit with a $3,000 bill? I had to fight tooth and nails to get back in class. After that I experienced one of the most hateful, rude, unpredictable instructors ever! I had been enrolled in Ashford for 2 1/2 years without failing a class. Through all of my efforts and hard work this instructor gave me a F! Yes she gave me a F because I questioned her. Later I took this same class with another instructor an passed with an A. I was very hurt and totally upset because I lost my awesome job which put me in great financial stress and their error caused me to graduate 3 months later than I was suppose to. I recently received a bill for over $8,000.00??????

    • profile image


      4 months ago

      I am so happy to see this University being sued. I did my bachelor's and master's degree at Ashford. I was in the process of getting my doctoral degree and asked a group to look at my unofficial transcripts. What I was told was that my degrees and doctoral studies were worthless . It is important to get the word out. Ashford University is a not legal.

    • profile image

      T Green 

      5 months ago

      I too would be elated to see a class-action lawsuit against Ashford. I have a mountain of college debt and my degree is of no use. I hold a bachelor's in ECE, and the state of Iowa does not recognize them as an accredited college. This is something I was lied to about from my college recruiters and counselors. The state sued Ashford, and then gave the money to those who went to the campus versus the online students. I appealed to the state of California once Ashford packed up and moved there, but somewhere in the 200 page admissions packet, Ashford covered their asses. To see that California then filed suit against them in 2017. They are nothing but crooks.

    • profile image

      Louise Berry 

      5 months ago

      I will be elated to hear of a class-action lawsuit against Ashford University. I have been charged $70,000 plus after getting a Bachelor of Art in Sociology and they say that I still owe them $6,109.01 and I know that is a big lie. I know now that they will lie to no end to get you in the institution and then hold your degree hostage. The Feder

    • profile image

      mary banks 

      6 months ago

      I unenrolled because of medical issues and now they Ashford is charging me for the Alumni Grant they gave me and put it in collections I am a senior citizen, this is outrageous

    • profile image


      7 months ago

      I want to sue these people. I see they moved to San Diego those F~ing CRIMINALS! I was looking for them tonight. Im in 45k with those letchs and Im telling you guys right now once I have to time and patience I will fight these bastards again. Im furious everytime I think of it~! I Lived this blog. PLEASE If there is a Class Action Someone turn me on to it! There was one once but the lawyers who were over zelious at first, quickly backed out. I researched the people benefiting financially from this sham school and it really is all these same people that we are seeing trying to convince us that Fake News isnt Fake News! THIS IS A VERY Big Deal! We Should not let these people get away with this they are showing commercials on television premoting

      this school still! Im furious and will do anything to get my 45k PLUS back from these shisters!HELP I Wanna SUE!

    • profile image


      8 months ago

      I cannot say how pleased I am to see the truth coming out about Ashford. I was hired there as a "writing consultant" while I completed my Master's degree in English at a real university (Western Illinois University). I only worked about three months before I resigned for ethical reasons. That school was no school at all! We were told to "Meet the student where they live.." a euphemism for give them a good grade no matter how bad their papers are. We were expected to read and grade 3-10 page papers in less than 3 minutes each. So any grade a student received was likely to be far higher than they actually earned. Students weren't learning anything, just turning in papers, taking quizzes and getting passing grades, while the college kept ALL of their federal student loans and gave the students little to nothing to live on while attending school. A total scam. I am so happy to hear that the truth is finally coming out. Schools like this cheat everyone--the students, the instructors who really want to teach, and anyone who has earned a degree through hard work at a real college. Thank you for sharing your experience.

    • profile image


      14 months ago

      I wish the average cost for a bachelors was $25k, my loans are about double that and that along with making a monthly payments directly to the school. I'm hoping that my degree will still be valid when I find a job.


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