SCVNews.com | SCV resident, veteran testifies to U.S. education panel
WASHINGTON, DC – Stephanie Stiefel, a veteran and Canyon Country resident, recently testified before the U.S. Department of Education’s Negotiated Regulatory Rulemaking Panel about her experience with the International Academy of Design and Technology. In her testimony to the panel, Stiefel shared her experiences with the school in taking advantage of veterans like her to receive the maximum funding possible.
Stiefel transferred to the International Academy of Design and Technology (IAFDT) after speaking to a school counselor at a career fair. He was promised small class sizes, one-on-one meetings with teachers, and excellent career prospects after graduation. Additionally, Stiefel has been advised that all of her credits will be transferable to other schools.
Once enrolled in the IADT, however, Stiefel immediately felt that the school’s classes were just a âcheck in the boxâ. Examples she gave included lack of training in the advanced software needed to complete courses, minimal classroom instruction, and all students receiving passing grades regardless of how well they did.
âThe advisors made the IADT program so attractive because they said that graduation from the IADT would provide a promising and lucrative career at large design firms,â said Stiefel. âThey also told me that they help their students find jobs. After graduation I moved from Tampa to Los Angeles and called the IADT Career Services office for professional help but was told that as I n didn’t live near school, they wouldn’t help me.
In Los Angeles, Stiefel applied for every interior design-related job she came across, in large and small companies. She rarely received a callback, and all of the interviews she received were about a job as a receptionist or assistant – jobs she could have gotten with a high school diploma and without paying for her diploma. IADT.
âAll of these jobs were paid minimum wage,â she said. “I certainly haven’t been able to get any of the jobs that make over $ 60,000 a year that the IADT made me believe I would get right out of school.”
Additionally, Stiefel learned that there were multiple requirements for working in the field that the IADT had never made her aware of or attempted to help meet. Since leaving the IADT, Stiefel has not been able to find a career in interior design. She took a job in a family business to help pay off student loans and even joined the military to get loan forgiveness. However, after joining the military, she learned that the IADT was not properly accredited and therefore was not eligible for a loan forgiveness. Additionally, she tried to transfer her general education courses from the IADT to a nursing program, and was told that her IADT courses were not transferable, despite what the IADT gave her. said. Stiefel is currently employed by the Department of Homeland Security as a dog handler for the detection of explosives.
For years, for-profit colleges like the International Academy of Design and Technology aggressively targeted the military and veterans because of the 90/10 loophole. The 90/10 loophole was a loophole in federal law that for-profit colleges were manipulating to use GI Bill dollars and Department of Defense tuition aid to offset the federal student aid cap at which schools would otherwise be confronted. Congress has since closed the 90/10 loophole that attacked military personnel and veterans like Stiefel.
“I am here (today) to call on the Department of Education to protect students from a mountain of debt for poor quality education and a diploma that is worthless in the job market.” Stiefel said closing his testimony.