Troubleshooter: College debt

Anthony Raynor

August 6, 2010 4:03:37 PM PDT
A Cumberland County Army reservist says he has been fighting thousands of dollars worth in college bills for three years.Anthony Raynor says when he got out of the Army in 2004; he decided to enroll at ECPI in Spring Lake for information technology training. His goal was to be a Microsoft certified systems engineer.

Raynor says he planned to use his GI Bill to pay for the classes at ECPI.

"I was told my VA benefits would cover the cost of my tuition," he said.

Once Raynor finished up the class work, the next step was to get the certified.

"I was told to e-mail them when I was ready for a voucher and they would give me the voucher so I could go to a testing center and get certified," he said.

Raynor says he received no response from the manager at the ECPI Spring Lake location and when he went to the location on Bragg Boulevard to talk to someone.

"The campus was closed, no sign on the building that we moved no nothing," he said.

Raynor says he heard nothing further from ECPI until 2008, when he received a bill for more than $72,000.

"I couldn't sleep that night, my wife was like, 'don't worry about it, it has to be a mistake,' and I was like, 'oh my God this is the biggest bill I've ever gotten in my life,'" Raynor said.

He says when he contacted someone at ECPI, they told him the bill was a mistake, but that he did still owe more than $4,500 for the classes he took back in 2004.

It is an amount Raynor disputes since he says he was told his VA benefits would cover the cost of the classes and he says he could never get certified.

"The education was worthless you couldn't use it in the real field without being certified," Raynor said.

He says he continued to fight the bills.

"Everything I could do I tried, letters, calls, even hiring an attorney, nothing seemed to get results," Raynor said.

Not willing to give up, he contacted ABC11 Eyewitness News I-Team Troubleshooter Diane Wilson, who got in touch with ECPI.

A representative with ECPI told ABC11 that the facility was open through 2008 and Raynor should have taken the exams to get certified, as she claims there was a staff person at the facility to help. But to put in an end to the case, the rep said ECPI would write off Raynor's account, leaving him owing nothing.

A resolution Raynor says he is relieved with.

"What took me three years, you guys took three weeks, so you definitely helped me out," he said.

The ECPI rep also added they provide quality it training to thousands of students each year and ECPI's mistake was continuing to allow Raynor to take courses without having paid his tuition.

However, Raynor disputes that he took classes with ECPI after 2004.

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