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legalgems, Lawyer
Category: Education Law
Satisfied Customers: 9908
Experience:  Just Answer consultant at Self employed
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I am a PhD student. My school promised full tuition for 3

Customer Question

I am a PhD student. My school promised full tuition for 3 yaers, but right after enrollment, they never fulfilled their promises. I have had to take unplanned loans amounting to $23,000, because they kept telling me, they're looking out for me the following semester, but always ended up with stories. I went back home for passport and visa renewal; and after getting back, they told me they have no jobs or money for me. I am from Ghana, a developing nation where $23,000 is a lot of money to come by. I am left with no choice then to relocate since I can't keep up with my expenses. The school is not willing to keep up with its promises. What do I do since I have been contemplating if talking to a lawyer was the best choice going forward. Hoping to hearing from you soon.
Thank you,
Submitted: 11 months ago.
Category: Education Law
Expert:  legalgems replied 11 months ago.

I am sorry to hear this;

was the promise to pay tuition in the form of a scholarship? Was it contingent on anything? Was it in writing?

Customer: replied 11 months ago.
I was uttered at a seminar. The program was about to kickstart. The department chair said they had over $60 million to engage students for a 3 year PhD program.In my first semester, I had to take $3,000 in loans because they did not honor the promise. In the second semester, they were shying from the promise some more, I had to take $5,000 in loans. In my third semester, I had to take $15,000 in loans, because the department refused to give me assistance, with their reason bring that, all the funds available were for citizens. The department chair later sent out an email that there were some funds available for students who have not paid their tuition. When I applied, stating that I had a loan, he said I didn't qualify because my tuition had been paid. I told him, it'd help me reverse that portion of my loan, but he still refused to help me with the scholarship. I'm in my fourth semester and have completed all my coursework and passed my qualifiers exams. All I have to do is my dissertation, and I feel like they are trying to push me aside and make it hard for me to get my degree, because in this semester, they are totally giving me no amount of money, not a Single dollar to help me with school. On this note, I am moving back home to Africa since I cannot afford my stay in school.I have tried every single thing to get them to try and help me but they always refuse.My flight is scheduled for the 19th of August.
Expert:  legalgems replied 11 months ago.

That is very upsetting; can you tell me if there was any written contract, or if there was an oral statement, what was said; also, when they were first notified of the loan issue, how did they reject their promise- did they say it was not a binding offer?

Customer: replied 11 months ago.
The statement was issued in late 2014, I was due to complete my master's degree. The statement was made at a seminar, solely organized for the purpose of streamlining as many students into the PhD program as possible.After I notified them of the loan, they ignored me all the way through. They use all sorts of tactics to get their way. There was no contract signed. After the program started, they changed their word and shifted money issues to the faculty.
Expert:  legalgems replied 11 months ago.

Thank you;

so basically if there was an offer that was made to a large group, it generally needs to be formalized - i.e. accepted.

An agreement must contain four essential elements to be regarded as a contract. If any one of them is missing, the agreement will not be legally binding.
1. Offer
2. Acceptance
3. Intention (meeting of the minds)
4. Consideration (fair value exchanged)

An offer may be made to a group, but there needs to be an acceptance; the offer must be specific enough so that the terms can be ascertained so they can be enforced. '

If acceptance was never communicated, that creates an issue in the formation of a contract; although a judge may determine that enrollment constituted acceptance. Because there is no writing to memorialize the arrangement, then the burden is on the plaintiff to prove the contract exists (this can be done by declarations of others in the group, emails from administration, etc). The state where the school is located is the state that will have jurisdiction so this would need to be filed (breach of contract cause of action) in the county where the school is located. You mentioned you are returning so you will need to hire an attorney to bring the action for you; however, it will come down to the proof issue so the attorney will need to analyze the type of proof you have to determine if there are grounds for suit.

If there were misrepresentations, this can be the basis for a consumer protection lawsuit under the Unfair and Deceptive Business Practices Act - in fact, if this is a common occurrence it can result in a class action. The Act precludes deceptive conduct such as misrepresentations designed to take advantage of the consumer.

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Information provided is for educational purposes only. Consultation with a personal attorney is always recommended so your particular facts may be considered. Thank you and take care.

Customer: replied 11 months ago.
I'm in the Guilford county of North Carolina. Are there any attorneys/lawyers here you might know that can represent me?
Expert:  legalgems replied 11 months ago.

I can't give specific referrals - but here is a link to the local bar association's referral page:

Here is the consumer protection statute that may be helpful to prove deception-

kindly rate positively if you feel I have earned it! thank you

Expert:  legalgems replied 11 months ago.

Hi- just checking in to see if you needed clarification on any of the above information. If so please post here (there is no additional charge for this) and I will do my best to get you the requested information.

Thank you!

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