DENVER - The fall-out from the abrupt Heritage College closure is hitting former students a second time. The school issued refund checks to some students. But at least one of those checks has bounced, 9NEWS has learned.
Dawn Brown contacted 9NEWS, saying the check Heritage College sent her bounced. Her issues with Heritage College and what she said she was promised, seem to run deeper than the one bad check.
“Of course I'm really upset,” she said. "Upset and confused. I don't understand any of it, because the numbers are different on every piece of paper there.”
Brown is just one of the victims of the Heritage College's abrupt closure November 1.
She was weeks away from completing her degree in skin care. Now, she's uncertain how and when that will happen and all of a sudden, she's $16,000 in debt.
“When I originally enrolled they told me I was fully funded and I asked if I was ever going to have to pay the money back and they told me no,” Brown said. “Because I was fully funded, what that meant to me, I was going to be going to school, I had full grant money. I was going to be going to school for free.”
Brown said Heritage College has also been giving her refund checks, four total. The latest one for $1,300 bounced. She was going to use it to start her own business.
“I'm still hoping I can open up my own business,” Brown said crying, “It's just going to take a little bit now. I am hoping I can get all the certificates and my associates degree I was supposed to get.”
Since 9Wants To Know met Brown on campus, we went with her looking for someone in Heritage College management.
Brown introduced herself to a man who opened the door on the 4th floor.
“Hi, My name is Dawn Brown,” she said.
The unidentified man saw the 9NEWS camera and said, “No thank you, I don't want cameras.”
“I want to know why my check bounced,” Brown asked.
“We're not going to be able to do it this way,” the man said, talking about the presence of cameras.
“That isn't fair,” Brown replied.
Brown told 9NEWS she had previously tried to get answers from the school without us there and didn’t get very far.
“We have a website, where you can go to and everything can be taken care of there,” the man told us.
9Wants To Know told him the website doesn’t give much helpful information to the people who need it.
The unknown gentleman wasn't willing to help. He told us he called the police. We watched him get his cell phone and dictate an address, reporting trespassers.
9Wants To Know called both the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office, that dispatches for that area and Lakewood Police just in case, since Lakewood is so close, wondering if they'd gotten the call and who called them. We also wanted to figure out who the man was at Heritage College, but both jurisdictions told us they never received a call from that location today.
Brown left upset and still confused.
“I wanted to get answers, not just for me, but for the other students and the teachers that were involved in this,” she said. “Because it’s affecting everybody’s livelihood and it’s not right. It’s so not right. I’m shaking I’m so upset. Since they're calling the police, maybe whoever wrote the checks and signed them and gave them to everybody, maybe they should be arrested. Right? Just saying, because that's against the law.”
Heritage College is owned by Weston Educational Inc. which is run by a car dealer in Fort Collins, Earl Weston of Weston Auto Gallery. When contacted by phone, he said, “I can’t add anything more to what’s been announced and what’s on the website,” and hung up.
The Colorado Attorney General’s Office provided the following information to those affected by the Heritage College closure. If students have concerns or issues about Heritage College closing, The Division of Private Occupational School in the Department of Higher Ed can help provide students with information about train-out programs at other schools and possible reimbursement of prepaid unearned tuition. DPOS’s phone number is located here: http://highered.colorado.gov/DHE/contact.html
Here is another DPOS link with information about the Heritage closing: http://highered.colorado.gov/dpos/
If any of the students would like to file a complaint with the AG’s office, they can contact the consumer protection team at https://www.stopfraudcolorado.gov/