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By Amir Salehzadeh
April 7, 2014
Credit : AP/Susan Walsh.


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Amy Kaplan, 31, has more than $34,000 in student loans alone after what she describes as being deceived by a vocational art program—the Art Institute of California—where she was majoring in photography.

The institute promised her that her education would be paid for in full with the combination of scholarships and grants, yet she had no idea that her education would actually be paid through loans, and to her dismay she discovered this after she had left the school before completing her program and without a degree.

Kaplan says that her experiences at the art institute were not worth the expense.

“I feel that I paid for the advertisements you see on TV,” Kaplan said. “The education was sub-par, the promises that were made to me at enrollment were stretched.”

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CREDIT: Courtesy Amy Kaplan.

The repercussions of being in debt are many, but one dream that Kaplan now says is far from reach is the prospect of owning a home. She even says that this debt is restricting her ability to save for her son’s future college education.

“I am just now getting on my feet again, and this loan will knock me right back down,” Kaplan said.

Now working as a photo editor at a newspaper, Kaplan says she would have preferred to attend a public university or an accredited program with transferable credits.

“I would advise [people] to not go to any for-profit school,” Kaplan said. “There are always programs at the public schools that will cost much less.”

As she continues to pay her loans, Kaplan reflects on advice she wished she would have had when researching higher education.

“Do lots of research when deciding on a school,” Kaplan said. “Just be very sure of anything anyone tells you and don’t just take their word for it.”



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