College credit mix-up costs student money, time

Ruth to the Rescue helps get results

Ayana Lett is a prime example of a busy hardworking student.

She goes to school part time, and works full time to pay her tuition. When she could no longer afford to attend Saginaw Valley State University, she transferred to Henry Ford Community College to continue working toward her degree. However, the process of transferring her classes turned out to be a bigger headache than Lett could have imagined.

When Lett contacted the registrar at Henry Ford to transfer her classes, she was informed that one chemistry class was not transferrable. "I did ask them, you know, why didn't my credit transfer, and they said that the curriculum at Saginaw Valley was not sufficient enough to transfer," says Lett.

So Lett decided to retake the class. However, after she had paid for and passed the class, she found out that the class was transferrable, and she hadn't really needed to take it again.

Lett was devastated. "It's kind of hard, you know, when you find a roadblock and you're trying to overcome it, but it's just like, it's just sitting there."

Refund Refused

Lett asked for a refund which was denied. Her appeal of that decision was also denied. Lett wouldn't give up. "I was determined to plead my case and just let them see that, you know, it was a mistake and I needed this to be fixed."

So, Lett contacted Ruth to the Rescue. We called the school and Dr. Lisa Copprue looked into the situation. "We want to get to the bottom of what happened because obviously this can be quite frustrating," she said.

Upon further investigation, Copprue found some errors in how the situation had been handled. There was a delay in notifying Lett that her chemistry course would actually transfer. In addition, Lett's appeal had not been sent to a supervisor to be reviewed, as it should have been.

"I explained to her that we would be refunding that money, in fact without the additional need of her lifting a finger," says Copprue.

In addition, Lett will also be receiving a stipend for another class at Henry Ford. "We want to have her walking away feeling as though her time mattered," Copprue says. Lett will receive $1,330 toward her fall classes.

Lett was very pleased with the results. "I was, I don't know, astounded! Just happy that she did that for me." And, Lett said she was very grateful that Ruth to the Rescue was there to help. "I'm very appreciative.... I really thought it was over, but you know I was determined and you guys helped me."

Moving forward, Henry Ford Community College is also working on preventing this from happening to other students. Dr. Copprue says the Department of Registration and Records is working on a new training program for employees who handle these issues. Copprue hopes to see it implemented in the next two weeks.

How To Avoid Transfer Troubles

Ruth to the Rescue spoke with a few local colleges and universities for advice on how students can avoid similar transfer troubles. While each school may have its own specific procedures, there are some similar steps that should work at most institutions.

1) Be sure to attend student orientation meetings to make sure you understand your new schools policies and procedures.
2) Work with an academic advisor, if that's an option.
3) Study the student transfer guide so you know what to expect before you even apply to the new school
4) Know the appeals process for any kind of problem you might run into. Many schools, like Henry Ford Community College, have their student
complaint policies and procedures posted online.
5) Check the Michigan Transfer Network-- which can show which courses transfer between many Michigan schools.

Link to Michigan Transfer Network.

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