After Argosy University unexpectedly closed its campuses nationwide, Liberty University announced it would be offering thousands of students left in limbo a way to continue their education, waiving application fees and offering tuition discounts.
On Friday, the chain of 22 career schools stretching across the U.S. closed amid allegations it improperly withheld millions of dollars in financial aid from students and used it to cover other expenses instead.
As hundreds of Argosy students scramble to find ways to complete their degrees, Liberty University released a statement announcing it will offer them an “opportunity to continue their education and pursue their dreams.”
“Liberty wants to help the students finish what they started and minimize both disruption to their studies and costs by offering a variety of transfer and financial benefits,” the school said in a press release.
“Any Argosy student who transfers their credits to Liberty will receive their first course — online — free of charge,” it continued. “After the first free course, Argosy students who are enrolled part time in at least 6 credit hours over the summer term will not only have their $199 technical fee waived, they can also take advantage of lower full-time tuition rates. Argosy students may transfer in up to 75% of an undergraduate degree and a maximum of two-thirds of an approved graduate or doctoral degree.”
The Virginia-based school also said that it would transfer more than 50 programs from Argosy to help displaced students resume their studies “with as little loss of academic credits as possible.”
Additionally, application fees for Argosy students hoping to attend Liberty will be waived between March 10 – May 29.
The U.S. Education Department cut off Argosy’s federal student loan and grant funds last week after learning the school used $13 million owed to students to cover payroll and other expenses, according to the Washington Post.
With its most important revenue stream cut off, Argosy’s owner, Dream Center Education Holdings, was unable to keep the school open.
The Chicago Tribune reports that the DoE also notified Dream Center that its request to convert Argosy from a for-profit to a nonprofit university was rejected and that it was ceasing Argosy’s participation in the Title IV federal student aid programs.
The Department of Education “took this step because Argosy does not meet certain standards, including administrative capability, financial responsibility, and the institution’s duty to use federal student aid program funds only for their intended purpose,” the department wrote in a notice posted to the federal student aid website.
The shutdown came as a shock to many of the roughly 8,800 students — some close to graduating — enrolled at campuses nationwide.
John Stanley, a military veteran who was just one class short of earning his Master’s Degree, told 11Alive he had hoped to complete his degree and go on to earn his doctorate from Argosy.
“The school is going under because of mismanagement of funds ... It’s frustrating because as a student we didn’t do anything wrong, and it feels like we’re being punished for what the school has done, we're being left out to dry," he said. "I feel like I’ve wasted a year and a half of my life if I don’t graduate. And if no other institutions take us, it’s like starting over again.”
In a statement, Liberty President Jerry Falwell said he wants to personally invite the students displaced by the closing of Argosy University to consider finishing out their degree programs through Liberty.
“We’re sorry for what you’re currently experiencing,” he said. “Our teams stand ready to make your transition into Liberty to be smooth and free of frustration. Liberty University is here to stay and here for you.”
Support staff from Liberty is already making itself available to Argosy students to answer questions and provide more details on making a transition to Liberty. All interested transfer students should contact Liberty’s admissions team by calling (800) 424-9595, Monday – Friday, 8 a.m. – 8 p.m. ET and Saturday, 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. ET or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more information, visit the Argosy University transfer page at www.luonline.com/argosy.