Thu | Nov 22, 2018

Painful lesson at IUC - Cancelled course leaves student $190,000 out of pocket for more than one year

Published:Sunday | October 1, 2017 | 12:00 AMRyon Jones

Fourteen months after the International University of the Caribbean (IUC) promised Daniel Bryan* that it would refund $190,000 she paid in tuition fee for a programme that never started, she is yet to receive one cent and the administration is still telling her she will be paid soon.

Bryan told The Sunday Gleaner that she applied to the tertiary institution in March of last year to do a two-year course in primary education, which she was told cost $280,000 per annum.

She was offered a 32 per cent discount if she paid the first year tuition early and in full; a deal she took up, paying $190,000.

But when she visited the Falmouth, Trelawny, branch of the university to collect her acceptance package, weeks later, she was told that the programme was undersubscribed.

"They told me that they didn't have enough students to do the programme in Falmouth, so I was asked if I would be willing to study at their Montego Bay campus," said Brian.

"At first, I didn't think much into it so I said 'OK', and my documents were transferred to Montego Bay. But then, when I thought about work and travelling to Montego Bay and coming back home, I realised it would not be the best thing for me.

"So I decided to put it off and I didn't even bother to finish the registration process as I had not yet signed the form accepting the offer of a place in the programme."

Bryan said she revisited the Falmouth office and explained that she was no longer going to take up the offer to study in Montego Bay and was given a form to fill out to get a refund.

"This was from in July of last year, and I was told it would take two to three weeks for me to get the refund but each time I called after that I was given some story," said Bryan.

"On one occasion, I was told the nursing programme was accredited but the accreditation was withdrawn and they are trying to pay back those students so they really don't have any money.

"But I was pregnant at the time, and I explained to them that I could really use the money to help prepare for the baby."


Good news


Bryan would receive some good news in February when she was telephoned and told that she would be refunded $100,000 immediately, with the remaining $90,000 to be refunded in the next few weeks.

"But when I called back weeks later, I was referred to speak to a Ms Bird, and I tried for six weeks, and each time I asked to be transferred to her, she has never picked up or returned my call, despite me leaving messages with the receptionist," Bryan claimed.

Last Monday, president of IUC, the Reverend Dr Maitland Evans, said he was not aware of the matter but would look into it.

True to his word, Evans contacted our news team to say he had investigated and found that Bryan was due her refund and he was "going to address it immediately".

Evans said it had been a rough year for IUC "but we have worked through it and we are at the best place that we have been through our struggles".

According to Evans: "We are not unique in this respect as other tertiary institutions have had similar challenges. The tertiary sector is under some pressure and we are attempting to deal with the issues as expeditiously and as potently as possible."

But up to yesterday Bryan had not been contacted by anyone from the university and she still had no clue when the refund would be made.

*Name changed on request.